Office of Environmental Management

SRS Canister Transporter Completes Pit Stop for Health Upgrades

November 21, 2017

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The Shielded Canister Transporter had a tuneup to prepare for the resumption of canister production at the Defense Waste Processing Facility next year.
The Shielded Canister Transporter had a tuneup to prepare for the resumption of canister production at the Defense Waste Processing Facility next year.

AIKEN, S.C. – A unique transport vehicle at the Savannah River Site (SRS) completed an important pit stop.

   Unlike a seconds-long pit stop in an auto race, this tuneup spanned about four months during the site’s liquid waste system outage. 

   The Shielded Canister Transporter (SCT) is a one-of-a-kind vehicle designed to carry stainless-steel canisters of glassified, high-level radioactive waste from the Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) to the Glass Waste Storage Buildings (GWSBs) a short distance away. Watch a video of the SCT traveling from DWPF to one of the GWSBs.

   At DWPF, a melter converts the liquid waste into a molten glass mixture that is poured into canisters. The canisters are sealed, decontaminated, and welded shut before being moved to a cell adjacent to the SCT’s garage. 

The Shielded Canister Transporter enters the glass waste storage facility.
The Shielded Canister Transporter enters the glass waste storage facility.

   More than 18 feet tall, 25 feet long and weighing 235,000 pounds, the two-wheel-drive vehicle powered by diesel engines. It has a shielding cask and canister lifting equipment. 

   The pit stop included several health upgrades, a new: 

  • fire suppression system capable of extinguishing unlikely fires in SCT engine compartments;
  • set of tires, with each wheel weighing 2,500 pounds;
  • spare engine in case the engine is overhauled; and
  • hydraulic cooling unit for extended summer operations.  

   The SCT is the only means of safely transporting the high-level waste canisters to the GWSBs, according to Jim Folk, Department of Energy-Savannah River Assistant Manager for Waste Disposition. 

   “It was a smart decision to make these modifications during this system-wide outage,” Folk said.

   The SCT has traveled about 1,545 miles between its garage at DWPF and the two GWSBs, equal to 618 laps around the Daytona International Speedway. Unlike stock cars that can travel speeds in excess of 200 mph, the SCT tops out at about 3 mph.   

   The SCT has transported more than 4,100 of the 10-foot-tall, 5,000 pound canisters. 

   Savannah River Remediation, the SRS liquid waste contractor, performed the upgrades.

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