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Dry Ice Blasting Proves a Speedy Solution for Nuclear Decontamination

Jul 10, 2014

In our last blog we wrote about the role dry ice blasting can play in nuclear decommissioning and decontamination processes. Optimum have now carried out a month long testing programme for a decommissioning company (sorry, NDA forbids me from naming clients etc) with some amazing results.

Of course Nuclear Decontamination can’t be carried out with dry ice blasting alone. There are too many risks associated with adding compressed air into certain areas/situations. This is where our 22 years of experience in industrial decontamination services have really seen us deliver a first class, turnkey solution, as we not only provide dry ice blasting, we have an armoury of machinery and processes that can cover every angle of cleaning, should the situation need it.

During the last month of trials, dry ice blasting has equated for 80% removal of the contaminated surfaces. The other 20% has been made up in a combination of scarifying, scabbling, concrete shaving, chemical extraction and induction debonding.

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An example of one change of process being the removal of contaminated, loose paint from steel clad walls. The room had a large link extraction system running through and so sending anything airborne through compressed air blasting was forbidden due to cross contamination risks (not even covering the extractors was possible or deemed to be 100% safe). We turned to a system known as induction debonding (basically a heat fed system that disturbs the bond between surface and substrate). Although slow, the task was complete with maximum safety.

And this brings me on to why dry ice blasting produced the best results over all of our other processes.

Speed. Compared to every other process we trialled, dry ice blasting was simply head and shoulders above the rest when it came to m2 covered in any time span. Add this to the fact that we aren’t creating a high risk, secondary waste stream and you start to see the benefits of dry ice blasting when used in the complex POCO (post op clean out) processes of Nuclear Decontamination and Decommissioning.

We would like to thank Mike B for all of his worldly advice in nuclear H&S, Chris H for your time and effort with the risk management and Kenny D for putting up with our ‘raised platform’ demands!

By Ian Reynolds 



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