We are pleased to announce the successful culmination of the Reactor Segmentation program that the Company’s International Enterprise Unit started two years ago to improve the efficacy of dismantling radiation-hardened and embrittled reactor internals and pressure vessels at retiring nuclear units with minimum personnel dose, assured control of spread of contamination and multi-layered protection to ensure personnel safety. The innovative segmentation technology, dubbed HI-CUT debuted at Indian Point Energy Center Unit 3 (a Holtec plant) beginning the dismemberment of the reactor’s Upper Reactor Vessel Internals on November 18, 2022. The HI-CUT device’s performance exceeded expectations, reaching more than double the projected severance rates and upset-free operations for the past seven weeks. HI-CUT is deemed to be critical to the safe and efficient decommissioning of the three-reactor Indian Point facility.
Prior to its deployment, the HI-CUT system was subjected to a battery of tests wherein materials harder than severely irradiated reactor material (ASTM A-300), emulating the hardness of topaz, were cut in simulated conditions. The results of the tests informed the equipment’s design. An extensive operator training program including underwater testing of the HI-CUT system and a full-scale mockup of the down-ending of the upper reactor vessel internals was completed prior to the system’s deployment which was instrumental in ensuring its success in the first attempt at the site. Special attention was paid to the development of a solid rigging and handling plan to handle parts under water which weighed in excess of 50 metric tons.
Holtec’s Senior Director of International site services programs, Mike Williams, who led the HI-CUT development program calls the innovative segmentation device “Holtec’s latest technology nugget to make the dismantling of old nuclear plants in full accord with the ideals of environmental justice accreting negligible dose to the local environment.”
Previously, we have announced another innovation which has allowed our nuclear waste to be packaged in less than 10% of the number of containers required by the contemporary practice in the industry which results in a drastic reduction in the number of off-site shipments. “We hope to bring these innovative technologies that enhance safety and environmental justice to other countries facing decommissioning in the coming years,” says HDI’s President, Mr. Kelly Trice.