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Dismantling the Nuclear Research Reactor Thetis

[+] Author Affiliations
P. Michiels

Belgoprocess, Dessel, Belgium

Paper No. ICEM2013-96210, pp. V002T03A032; 5 pages
doi:10.1115/ICEM2013-96210
From:
  • ASME 2013 15th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management
  • Volume 2: Facility Decontamination and Decommissioning; Environmental Remediation; Environmental Management/Public Involvement/Crosscutting Issues/Global Partnering
  • Brussels, Belgium, September 8–12, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division, Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5602-4
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME

abstract

The research reactor Thetis, in service since 1967 and stopped in 2003, is part of the laboratories of the institution of nuclear science of the University of Ghent. The reactor, of the pool-type, was used as a neutron-source for the production of radio-isotopes and for activation-analyses.

The reactor is situated in a water pool with inner diameter of 3 m. and a depth of 7.5 m. The reactor core is situated 5.3m under water level. Besides the reactor, the pool contains pneumatic loops, handling tools, graphite blocks for neutron moderation and other experimental equipment. The building houses storage rooms for fissile material and sources, a pneumatic circuit for transportation of samples, primary and secondary cooling circuits, water cleaning resin circuits, a ventilation system and other necessary devices. Because of the experimental character of the reactor, laboratories with glove boxes and other tools were needed and are included in the dismantling program. The building is in 3 levels with a crawl-space.

The ground-floor contains the ventilation installation, the purification circuits with tanks, cooling circuits and pneumatic transport system. On the first floor, around the reactor hall, the control-room, visiting area, end-station for pneumatic transport, waste-storage room, fuel storage-room and the labs are located. The second floor contains a few laboratories and end stations of the two high speed transfer tubes. The lowest level of the pool is situated under ground level. The reactor has been operated at a power of 150 kW and had a max operating power of 250 kW.

Belgoprocess has been selected to decommission the reactor, the labs, storage halls and associated circuits to free release the building for conventional reuse and for the removal of all its internals as legal defined.

Besides the dose-rate risk and contamination risk, there is also an asbestos risk of contamination. During construction of the installation, asbestos-containing materials were used, which must be removed in controlled conditions. The ventilation system is considered free from nuclear contamination but it contains asbestos.

This paper covers the organization of the dismantling work, the technical execution aspect and conclusions already known (dismantling is ongoing as this is written).

Copyright © 2013 by ASME

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