As part of its contract to design and manufacture the Shaft Intervention Platform for waste retrieval from the Dounreay shaft, Oxford Technologies has undertaken a value engineering study, which has resulted in an anticipated saving of approximately £600k from the project budget.
One key area identified for potential saving was the treatment of the waste in the tunnel section of the shaft. The original concept solution involved the deployment of a remotely operated, tracked vehicle and associated tooling into the stub-tunnel section once it was reached by the SIP.
Oxford Technologies’ proposed solution was based on the deployment by the Shaft Intervention Platform, of a high-pressure water jet, to recover the predominantly sludge-like materials from the 18-metre long tunnel. To provide evidence to support this proposal the company proposed a full-scale trial at its Assembly Integration and Test facility at Abingdon.
Within two months of the trial’s approval by DSRL the entire structure had been built and hardware delivered for interface with the prototype robotic arm which was being developed for deployment on the Shaft Intervention Platform.
One month later the high-pressure water jet trials successfully proved that a number of approaches using Oxford Technologies’ proposed method could successfully be used (depending on a variety of different assumed waste formations) to remotely clear the tunnel at a very significantly lower cost.