Steel Plate Rolling to Enclose a Spent Nuclear Reactor

Steel plate rolling is often required in the nuclear industry, for example, to enclose a spent nuclear reactor.

In one instance, 2in thick steel A36 plate 58-1/2in long was rolled into full cylinders with a 128in outside diameter.  The plates were plasma trimmed with a single longitudinal V-groove bevel of 30 degrees and a 1/8in landing.  Some of the cylinders also had a circumferential bevel.

The rolled and beveled cylinders were then sent to a steel fabricator who welded two cylinders together and then welded 4in thick steel plate to one end of the cylinder creating an open can of sorts. The fabricator reported that the cylinders fit well together being only 1/8 inch out of round.

All the welds were full-penetration welds and all underwent ultrasonic testing (UT). After a spent nuclear reactor was put in the cylinder, the cylinder was filled with cement.  The cement is the barrier to any radiation leakage from the reactor.  The steel cylinder protects the cement.  Square and rectangular tube is welded around the steel cylinder to create even more protection as a crush zone to absorb energy, especially in the case of a transportation mishap. These curved steel sections also fit up well. A 3 inch thick steel cap was then welded to the top of the can.

Each can weighs about 181,000 pounds empty and about 490,000 filled. The cans are transported by truck and then by rail. The heavy fabrication guaranteed that if a can fell in transit, it would not break apart.


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