RICHLAND, Wash. – A team of designers with EM Richland Operations Office contractor Central Plateau Cleanup Company (CPCCo) is using 3D laser scanning technology to gather data to help workers prepare some of the facilities on the Hanford Site for demolition.
The process uses laser light to capture information about the surface and shape of an object from different perspectives. The system collects millions of data points and blends that information with high quality photos to create scans capable of highlighting the smallest surface detail.
The amount of detail collected allows designers to build the most accurate 3D computer models possible. The models provide an exact layout of a facility and its contents, including flanges, pipelines, tanks, and valves, all the way down to the nuts and bolts.
“Anytime we can capture comprehensive layout and configuration data in hazardous areas, some of which have not been explored in decades, that’s a big win for worker safety,” said Mark French, EM division director for Hanford’s Central Plateau Cleanup Project. “When workers are required to make physical entries, knowing system layouts and configurations allows for robust planning, which reduces risk and makes the job more efficient.”
CPCCo is deploying the 3D technology at cleanup projects across Hanford’s Central Plateau, including at the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Plant (PUREX), Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility (WESF) and Reduction-Oxidation Plant (REDOX). The data not only helps with the development of work packages, sampling plans and demolition preparation, but it can also be used to conduct virtual walk-throughs of facilities.
At PUREX, crews are using digital models of the tanks, structures, pipelines and ancillary equipment to support ongoing cleanup activities. For crews at WESF, 3D scanning assisted with design modifications to the building to prepare for installation of equipment that will transport nearly 2,000 radioactive capsules from underwater pools in the aging facility to a new dry-storage pad. At REDOX, 3D scans were used to establish locations for workers to cut into a concrete wall to install a new roll-up door, which will enable the removal of contaminated equipment as the facility is being prepared for demolition.
“We want to show our crews what the facilities look like right now; we want to eliminate the unknowns,” said Stephen Papenfuss, CPCCo designer and engineer with the Inner Area End States team. “In the past, the projects have had to rely on old pictures and drawings that can take a long time to find and might not best represent conditions inside the facilities today. With the 3D images and models, everybody can be working off the same, up-to-date information.”
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