On August 8th of this year, the Cask Processing Enclosure (CPE) team at the Transuranic Waste Processing Center (TWPC) in Oak Ridge completed processing their 100th cask of “remote-handled” Transuranic waste. The CPE allows operators working in “bubble suits” to manually sort, segregate, size reduce and repackage waste from casks generated at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
Initially scheduled to be performed in the hot cell with remote manipulators, TWPC discovered that most of the older Transuranic waste packaged at ORNL in casks contained predominately lower dose waste that could be safely and more efficiently handled directly.
The CPE was constructed and commissioned on July 12, 2012 to process approximately 170 of the 365 casks in inventory at a cost savings of almost $20 million due to significant schedule reduction. Casks weighing up to 18,500 pounds are introduced into the CPE through a series of airlocks using an overhead crane hoist and electric carts. The casks are put on a huge tilter and laid on their side adjacent to a downdraft sorting table (modeled after a mortuary table) so the waste can be pulled out and processed by the operators.