Power Fluidics™ is the generic name for a range of maintenance-free engineered systems built around the common principle of using one medium, most commonly air, to move fluids. In nuclear applications, these fluids are mainly radioactive liquids, slurries and sludges. Power Fluidic systems have no moving parts in contact with the contaminated medium and therefore require no maintenance of contaminated equipment thereby reducing/eliminating maintenance costs, reducing dose to workers and increasing system productivity through elimination of downtime.
They have been used for pumping, mixing, sampling, retrieval and ventilation control in both nuclear process plant and in legacy waste management projects. There are hundreds of Power Fluidic systems now in operation worldwide. For example, more than 150 Pulse Jet Mixer systems are installed at the Sellafield site in the UK with the longest serving system operating on a 30 minute cycle for more than 41 years. Similar systems are currently being fabricated for use in major new processing and packaging plants at Sellafield and at the Hanford site in the US. There have been no incidences of failure, erosion, mechanical or corrosion damage in the entirety of Power Fluidic system use in the nuclear industry.
PRINCIPLES OF POWER FLUIDIC™ TECHNOLOGY
A typical Power Fluidic system mobilizes, retrieves or pumps waste via a three-phase process that includes a suction phase, a drive phase and a vent phase. The different types of system are described in more detail below.
Pulse Jet Mixers
Power Fluidics Pulse Jet Mixing System at ORNL
3D CAD Drawing of Power Fluidics W-Tank Arrangement at ORNL