The Magazine for Underwater Professionals

Nov/Dec 2017


Tigers to clear nuclear waste

Legacy ponds at Sellafield

Saab Seaeye, UK, reports it has supplied two Tiger ROV for work in the radioactive ponds at the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria, UK.

“They were chosen because their proven thruster reliability is vitally important in a highly corrosive environment where maintenance intervention is hazardous to humans,” said the company.

“Reliability is key for the health of operators,” explained Phil Toomey, technical manager at Sellafield Ltd. “They must wash down the Tigers during maintenance checks as exposure to radiation for operators is carefully limited, so unplanned downtime will quickly exhaust their safe working period in any one year.”

Sellafield Ltd intends the Tigers to work continuously for six months at a time between scheduled maintenance periods and the vehicle’s thruster working life of 10,000 hours was a major appeal, according to Toomey.

He said the Tigers’ role is to help clean up and empty the legacy storage ponds by picking up and sorting nuclear material, including radioactive fuel bars. The nuclear waste can often be buried in about 30 centimetres of sludge, which is also highly radioactive and hazardous.

Each fuel bar is around one metre long, weighs 15 kilograms and is gripped in the middle by the Tiger’s under-slung manipulator, monitored and identified, then transferred to a skip which can be removed from the pond for safer storage in a more modern facility.

In addition to the under-slung manipulator skid, a four-function forward facing manipulator skid is available, together with an under-slung water-jet cleaning skid. Also on board the Tigers are a colour zoom camera and a down and rear view camera.

“We wanted a proven robotic vehicle,” said Toomey, “and we also liked that the Tiger’s skid technology makes it easy to swap skids.”

Sellafield Ltd plans to have removed all bulk fuel and sludge from its legacy ponds by 2022.

Deepwater search and recovery AUV

Iceland-based AUV specialist Teledyne Gavia, part of the Teledyne Marine group of leading-edge subsea technology companies, has announced it has been awarded a contract for the supply of a 6000-metre rated vehicle for deepwater search and recovery applications for delivery in 2018.

The newly designed SeaRaptor AUV will incorporate a broad range of Teledyne Marine content including acoustic modems, a flight data recorder beacon locator and sub-bottom profilers (Teledyne Benthos, USA), multibeam echosounders and obstacle avoidance sonars (Teledyne RESON, Denmark), Doppler velocity log and current, temperature and depth sensor (Teledyne RD Instruments, USA) and onboard processing software (Teledyne Caris, Canada). In addition, the vehicle will carry an EdgeTech, USA, sidescan sonar with dynamic focus capability.

Teledyne Marine’s ability to combine industry leading vehicle design, instrumentation, imaging sensors and interconnect solutions from a single supplier into a turnkey package for customers makes the company unique in the unmanned underwater vehicle market, according to a spokesman.

“Teledyne is excited and honored to receive this contract for its newly designed vehicle,” said Thomas Altshuler, vice president and group general manager for Teledyne Marine Systems. “Teledyne Marine has the industry’s broadest range of leading underwater solutions which makes Teledyne a reliable and proven partner for important projects, like this specialised AUV.”

Rovco awarded wind farm contract

UK subsea company Rovco has been awarded a three-year contract to support one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms, Gwynt y Môr, located eight miles (13 kilometres) off the coast of North Wales.

Rovco will be providing its underwater ROV 3D visual survey solution, alongside traditional video, sonar and cathodic protection analysis techniques.

Gwynt y Môr consists of 160 turbines that generate enough energy for more than 400,000 homes across the country. It extends over an area of about 80 square kilometres and includes two offshore substations and 134 kilometres of onshore cable installations.

The contract with wind farm operator Innogy, Germany, was won in a competitive tender. It will see the Bristol-based ROV firm provide inspection services to the 576-megawatt wind farm’s offshore assets as part of its ongoing maintenance plan.

Rovco will deploy its Mojave ROV from its fleet, kitted out with 3D inspection equipment as part of the bespoke inspection programme.

The award is the latest in a series of contract wins for Rovco since the business launched in September last year. To date, it has worked with clients in the renewable and oil and gas industries, across the North Sea, Middle East and Asia Pacific regions.

Rovco chief executive and founder Brian Allen said: “Being awarded this three-year contract to support the Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm demonstrates our growing reputation for providing clients with the most reliable and state-of-the-art underwater inspection solutions based from smaller, more cost-effective vessels and ROV platforms.

“This is a significant addition to our growing order book, showcasing Rovco’s increasing portfolio and footprint across the spectrum of energy industries. We are very proud of our talented team and the inspection services we have on offer.”





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