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How to Handle Radioactive Waste

Handling, transporting and storing radioactive nuclear waste faces environments that cannot be safely accessed by people without special equipment.

Lauyans_3The process of handling, transporting and storing radioactive nuclear waste is highly specialized. Companies that work in these processes face environments that cannot be safely accessed by people without special equipment. Lauyans & Company provides material-handling equipment that is engineered to protect people in these situations.

Here is an example. A large facility in Idaho was required to remove all nuclear waste previously stored at this site and repackage it for shipment to another site. The work has begun and will continue to take place over a number of years. A large international construction company was selected to build a processing facility to handle the radioactive material.

Lauyans was selected to provide material-handling equipment for an array of functions. This equipment includes:

  • Conveyors for multiple sizes of wooden boxes, steel boxes and steel drums.
  • Conveyor transfers.
  • Box lifts to move boxes between floors.
  • Drum lifts to move drums between floors.
  • Material-handling devices to secure boxes while their tops are being removed by robotic saws and dump the container for sorting by other robots.
  • Devices to insert drums into a hydraulic compactor and remove the compacted "puck."

Wooden boxes of nuclear waste are opened and dumped, and the materials inside sorted. The waste material is repackaged in several different sizes of steel drums. These drums are then crushed into "pucks" to conserve space when placed in larger containers for shipment. These shipping containers have a capacity of 4,000 pounds.

Lauyans_2The material-handling environment is highly dangerous. Interaction by humans with the waste is only through robotic means. Lauyans' conveyors, lifts and other equipment must function continuously in this rigorous process.

Maintenance costs in a radioactive environment are too high to accept anything other than complete reliability. Lauyans was selected for this project due to its reputation for engineering and building heavy-duty material-handling equipment to suit the application.

Does your company face a situation that requires special material-handling expertise? For more information, please email [email protected] or visit

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