Feasibility study of high-performance pulsed power technology for supporting Hanford Site single-shell tank waste retrieval, March 29, 1996
Description: Westinghouse Hanford Company (WHC) has developed databases on retrieval methods that include more than 155 companies that have technologies potentially applicable to DSST waste retrieval, including the High Performance Pulsed Power Technology (HPT). This report summarizes the feasibility of the technology for supporting retrieval of SST waste. Other potential applications such as unblocking plugs in waste transfer pipelines are described in Appendix C. The feasibility study addresses issues of implementation, operation, and safety with a focus on strengths, weaknesses, and potential pitfalls of the technology. The feasibility study was based on information acquired from TZN GmbH, a German company that developed and manufactures HPT systems for a wide-range of applications. Marketing partners of TZN for this technology are the German company Telerob and R.J. International, the U.S. representative of both companies. An HPT system is capable of fracturing brittle materials into 100-microm particles using electrothermally-generated shock waves. Until now, the technology has been used only to separate glass, metal, ceramic, and plastic components. One primary application of the technology has been in foundries for removing ceramic molds from metal castings. Metals, except for those that are very brittle, are not impacted by the shock wave. The HPT system is highly effective in fracturing and mobilizing ceramic mold materials contained in the crevices of castings that are normally difficult to remove. The HPT system has also been shown to be effective in separating glass in windshields from their protective layers of plastic; concrete from reinforcing rods; ceramic, plastic, and metal materials in computer chips; and ceramic insulation from spark plugs and high-voltage insulators. The HP`T system has been used successfully to bore a 7-in. diameter hole into hard rock at a rate of 33 ft/hr. The HPT system has also been demonstrated successfully in mining applications.
Date: October 1, 1996
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