Tank Liner and Sludge Removal


Location: Building 240 Tank-1 at AECL Chalk River Site


Tank 1 is a 40-year-old vertical cylinder with conical ends, 40-feet in diameter and 23-feet high with a nominal capacity of 130,000 gallons, which served as a collection tank for low-level contaminated water from the two research reactors and various sumps and drains on the Chalk River Site. In 1982, the tank was drained, cleaned and fitted with a 40-mil PVC liner leaving 9 m3 of liquid and 2-3 m3 sludge. The tank was taken out of service in 2003 and requires liner and sludge removal before tank closure.


To address the remediation of this tank, NuVision Engineering assembled an integrated team with Kinectrics, EnergySolutions, and International Climbing Machines (ICM) to provide a turnkey solution to:

  • Retrieve, transfer, dry and package the remaining sludge
  • Rinse, retrieve, transfer, dry and package the tank liner
  • Remove, dry and package all loose debris and materials
  • Rinse the tank, remove rinse solutions and dry the tank leaving no visible pooling of water
  • Provide and characterize representative samples of liquids
  • Cap all connecting pipes
  • Seal the tank after completion of work in such a way so as to allow reuse and reentry


This project will take full advantage of the combined worldwide remediation experience of NuVision Engineering, Kinectrics and EnergySolutions and will also make use of innovative technology offered by ICM in order to accomplish liner removal. This part of the process will be executed using a robotic climbing machine with a cutting head that will cut the liner into manageable sized strips. The cutting head will then be replaced with a vacuum head to retrieve the liner strips out of the tank through the top opening in the tank. This project is an excellent example of how an integrated team using proven processes with some innovative technology can offer customers excellent value for money and a successful outcome.