Sep 30 An empty pool
For the past 60 years, a basin has been used to store radioactive objects from Danish Reactor 3. Now the last contaminated tubes have been removed from the basin.
D The so-called cutting pool is barely five metres deep and is located in a hall adjacent to the reactor building. Water shields effectively from ionizing radiation, so while the reactor was running, the basin was used to house used uranium fuel. Once a fuel element was used up, the pipe with the fuel was passed over to a giant "cigar mower" on the edge of the basin. The pipe was clipped off the top and slid down a sliske. Down in the water, it was placed in a saw, which cut off the ends so that only the encapsulated fuel element remained. It was now placed in a bookcase in the basin where it was waiting until an appropriate amount of fuel could be returned to the country of origin.
Since 2002, when the last fuel elements were shipped to the United States, the basin has been used to store and process irradiated pipes and other elements used in the research reactor . Now the basin has been finally emptied of all contaminated objects, as part of the general clean-up after years of experimental activities.
In recent weeks, a 23-ton transport "bottle" has been on regular service to and from the pool to retrieve the last of many items. Some of them have been hanging in ropes along the side, others have just been lying on the bottom. One by one they have been hoisted into the lead-controlled bottle and after half an hour of draining are transported to the other end of the hall. Objects with low activity have come directly into a shielded container, possibly after being cut into smaller pieces. The more contaminated objects are initially placed in a storage block in the hall floor. They will later be transferred to a large, custom-built and shielded saw that can cut them into smaller pieces before placing in containers.
See also the article "An extended arm in the water" from 2016.