DEVELOPMENT OF UNDERWATER PLASMA ARC CUTTING

The Elk River Reactor (ERR), a nuclear power plant at Elk River, Minnesota, has been disassembled and removed from the site. This is a first event for the nuclear industry, since other obsolete reactors had been left standing after shutdown. Procedures for underwater plasma arc cutting and piercing and unique operating cycles were developed to produce the required cuts and holes in the 1 in. stainless steel plate of the inner thermal shield of the ERR. A plasma torch manipulator and a cutting control panel were designed and built for remote automated underwater plasma arc cutting of the inner thermal shield and for subsequent in-air cutting of other components. Commercial plasma arc cutting equipment was usable with only minor modification to torches and high-frequency generator. The cutting equipment and the operating procedures were demonstrated to be workable and practical by cutting and piercing fairly large test plates in a full size mockup of the ERR vessel. At the ERR, underwater plasma arc cutting and removal of the inner thermal shield were accomplished in five weeks under difficult remote working conditions. The plasma arc cutting torches and associated equipment performed satisfactorily. The control panel and the plasma torch manipulator proved suitable for underwater plasma arc cutting of the inner thermal shield, and also for in-air plasma arc cutting of the reactor vessel.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    American Welding Society

    2501 NW 7th Street
    Miami, FL  USA  33125
  • Authors:
    • Wodtke, C H
    • Plunkett, W A
    • Frizzell, D R
  • Publication Date: 1976

Media Info

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Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00147761
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Engineering Index
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 11 1977 12:00AM