Transfer of samples from the core of Fukushima reactor

- using LaCalhene’s PADIRAC and DPTE® technology to transfer and contain the samples.

TEPCO Fukushima has decided to take the first samples from the core of the reactor in order to understand how to tackle future dismantling operations. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is the primary sub-contractor to TEPCO and is contractor for the entire sampling project.

LaCalhene’s PADIRAC – a transfer/transport cask containing a stainless steel DPTE® container – was selected to contain the samples. Designed for the nuclear environment, the PADIRAC needs little modification for the job and will have no technical impact on the installation. The PADIRAC will be docked onto a buffer container which will be docked to the reactor. The ‘corium’ samples will be inserted into the PADIRAC then transferred outside the reactor to a cell built nearby in a “clean” zone to manage the samples. The cell will be fitted with a DPTE® 270 Alpha port for seamless leaktight connection to the DPTE® container.

CLEO, a company located near Marcoule in the south of France, is designing and manufacturing a tele-operated trolley system with total freedom of movement, to convey the PADIRAC from the “clean” zone to the reactor and back. This highly complex specific design includes integrated cameras and remote control via cable. The cable provides robust connections and maintains a mechanical link with the “clean” side, while the trolley is inside the reactor.