Sludge Mobilization System with Remote Controlled Articulating Nozzle


Location: Mound, OH

Customer: U.S. Department of Energy


Designed and constructed in 1948, building WD at Mound was the treatment facility for low specific activity (LSA) radioactive wastes generated by process activities. Active and inactive processes housed within the WD facility included alpha and beta wastewater treatment, laboratory and benchscale research, LSA waste drum repackaging, a glass melter furnace and a packed bed reactor.
One of the challenges the site was facing as it deactivated and decommissioned the facilities was the waste retrieval and eventual treatment of waste from the 36 tanks and sumps in the WD complex which contained various types of wastes and which varied in size from 1,000-40,000 gallons.


In order for the site to be in compliance with the Deactivation and Decontamination plan for the facility, the contents from the WD tanks needed to be retrieved and stored until a treatment process was identified. The walls of the tanks were to be washed and the subsequent contents retrieved and transported for treatment.


Through a contract with the Office of Science and Technology, NuVision Engineering deployed a mobile, skid-mounted tank waste retrieval system to Mound to retrieve the waste from two of the WD complex storage tanks.


A Small Tank Mixer (STM) which had been previously deployed at Oak Ridge as part of an Accelerated Site Technology Deployment (ASTD) Project was transferred to Mound for demonstration on two concrete storage tanks. When the initial phase of the waste retrieval was completed, it was determined that the system was very successful in removing the bulk waste from the tanks but was less effective in removing the crusted carbon sludge from the sidewalls of the tanks. NuVision Engineering subsequently modified the system to include the capability to wash the inside of the tanks after the waste was retrieved. This involved designing and installing a remote controlled articulating nozzle which could rotate 360° and travel up and down in the tank.