Evaporator Repair at Savannah River Site

Framatome and Savannah River Remediation (SRR) successfully completed repair work on a high-level waste evaporator (3H) at the DOE’s Savannah River Site (SRS) in Aiken, SC. By designing and using customized components and specialized inspection and repair techniques, Framatome’s team safely cleaned, welded, and sealed the identified evaporator leak.

The evaporator repair presented numerous challenges (e.g., component configuration, materials weldability, high radiation fields, hard-to-reach location of the leak) that greatly inhibited the team’s ability to access the area, requiring the development and use of remote equipment.

After removing excess insulation and assessing further, the team deployed a remote-controlled 3D metrology system and built a full-scale model of the evaporator (26 feet tall and 14 feet in diameter) at Framatome’s Technical Training Center, located in Lynchburg, Va. This model allowed the team to design, fabricate, demonstrate the techniques, and test all systems and technology developed to repair the evaporator.

Framatome qualified a laser powder welding process to execute the repair of the challenging weld material (Hastelloy G3) and designed a combination of two manipulators to successfully position the weld tool to execute the repair.

“This innovative repair demonstrates the role cutting-edge technology can play to help achieve our mission of safely and efficiently operating the site,” said Mark Schmitz, SRR deputy project manager and chief operating officer. “We’re pleased to have worked with Framatome to successfully return the 3H evaporator to service.”

SRS restarted the 3H evaporator following a water test in the vessel.

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