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Uranium Mine Contamination Reduction

8th November 2017 | radioactive contamination remover

 

Envirofluid found a safe and cost effective way to remove low radioactive surface contamination 

An uranium mine was looking for a safe and cost effective alternative to a wet sand blasting method, to remove low radioactive surface contamination which does not pass the transport code, from metal surfaces, with minimal capital expenditure. 

 

Improving Lives

Soaking metal parts in the Triple7 Enviroscale is a less labour intensive operation than the wet sand blasting method used within the industry including Mining, Oil & Gas, Defecnce establishements and other similar areas, making it safer, quieter and easier for workers.

Improving Business

Utilising a large bath saves workers time as the Triple7 Enviroscale works on its own! Does not require full time application like the wet sand blasting method does. Multiple parts can be soaked at one time, and soaking can be left for hours saving even more time on site.

 

Improving Innovation

Triple7 Enviroscale improves innovation, enabling acids to be used where they previously were unacceptable. Unlike conventional acids, Triple7 Enviroscale will not corrode metals, both ferrous and non-ferrous, nor will it harm rubbers and seals.

 

The Situation

Due to strict site standards on a large uranium mine regarding the removal of materials from the mine, the company required that materials sent from site are free from radioactive contamination. The standard is based on the surface contamination clearance levels outlined in the ARPANSA Transport Code (ARPANSA 2008).

The specific requirements are that materials must be free of visual contamination and have a surface contamination level of less than 4,000 becquerels (Bq)/m2. This has meant that a lot of equipment must stay on site, or be sand blasted to remove radioactive surface contamination; a labour and time intensive task.

In line with the mines’ values, the site resources division was searching for an alternative method to remove low level contamination from metal surfaces, to enable metal parts to be transported from site and recycled to improve the sustainability of the companies operations.
 

The Challenge


A uranium mine was looking for a safe and cost effective alternative to a wet sand blasting method, to remove low radioactive surface contamination which does not pass the transport code, from metal surfaces, with minimal capital expenditure.

The Concerns

The wet sand blasting method that is often used within the industry including Mining, Oil & Gas, Defence establishments and other similar areas, involves time consuming and labour intensive processes which come at a cost.

The primary concern for the company in using Triple7 Enviroscale to remove the radioactive surface contamination, was the need to reduce the cost of both time and labour, and determine a cost effective method with reduced labour and time input.


The Solution


Triple7 Enviroscale was used as an alternative measure for reducing the low levels of radioactive surface contamination. 

A short trial was conducted where a mill liner with surface ore contamination was placed in a bath of Triple7 Enviroscale plus for 30 minutes to assess the speed at which the Triple7 Enviroscale would reduce the surface contamination levels.

Radioactivity readings of the surface contamination were taken prior to the Triple7 Enviroscale trial with readings between 40 and 400 becquerels (Bq)/sec of radiation activity over various parts of the surface of the metal mill liner.

After 30 minutes in Triple7 Enviroscale, the bath was drained and the mill liner was re-tested for radiation activity with readings from around the mill liner now showing between 10 and 90 becquerels (Bq)/sec of radiation activity.

The radioactivity of the surface contamination was 4 – 5 times lower with only 30 minutes soaking in Triple7 Enviroscale.

Triple7 Enviroscale is an eco-friendly, alternative acid solution which does not have the ability to harm metals and rubbers, but removes lime scale, calcium and other scale-like encrustations from metal surfaces.

Triple7 Enviroscale is a worker-safe fluid, which is not classified as hazardous or dangerous, allowing it to be supplied in concentrated form to reduce cost and improve the economies of transport, storage and handling.