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The Cutting Edge


Eadon Consulting have recently been awarded Sellafield Ltd’s LINC 19 challenge.  Within one of Sellafield’s historic fuel storage ponds, ROV access is required through an opening between two areas to enable decommissioning activities to start.  However, there is currently a metal obstruction blocking access between these areas which is in a particularly challenging environment.  Sellafield require a method of remotely cutting and removing the obstruction.  Eadon Consulting were selected by Sellafield after proposing an initial concept for a small-scale, long-reach diamond wire cutter.

After an initial optioneering review, Eadon identified diamond wire cutting as being the most appropriate technique that would meet the requirements in terms of remotely cutting the metal.  While this technique is typically used on large-scale demolition projects, Eadon found the same technique being used on a smaller-scale for gem cutting and decided that this method could be adapted for the Sellafield application.

Eadon’s experience of developing innovative solutions for the nuclear sector meant that we were able to quickly develop a concept that takes the best of the diamond wire cutting technique, and adapt it for use within the nuclear sector.  We have built a test rig that is currently demonstrating the feasibility of the technique as well as being used to optimise the cutting parameters.

Diamond Wire cutting test rig

Diamond Wire cutting test rig

We are developing the final design of the machine to be deployed into the Sellafield pond to perform the cutting task.  Using our experience from the test rig development, as well as drawing on other ongoing research and development projects, we have been able to use a number of off-the-shelf components and technologies, accelerating the development time whilst also reducing cost and improving reliability.

This project is an excellent opportunity for Eadon Consulting to further demonstrate our ability to develop innovative solutions for the nuclear sector.  Eadon’s nuclear director, James Hill, commented “this project builds on our current R&D program within the nuclear sector which now covers topics as diverse as waste containers, access and deployment systems as well as size reduction capabilities.”  When deployed by Sellafield, the diamond wire cutter will remove a critical issue, enabling wider decommissioning activities to start.

NAMRC building

In the spirit of collaboration and supporting SME’s, the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) are providing Eadon Consulting workshop space to carry out the initial testing and process proving.  They were able to quickly respond to the request for help and enable the testing to get underway.  This has built on the existing relationship between Eadon and NAMRC and they are now looking at other opportunities to collaborate on R&D projects in the future.

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