Surface preparation and finishing specialist Wheelabrator Group has been awarded a contract to supply equipment for decontaminating materials at one of Europe's nuclear facilities.
The company, which has facilities in Tyburn Road, Birmingham and Sandy Lane, Coventry, will supply a £350,000 abrasive blasting unit on behalf of customer RWE NUKEM to the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy.
The machine, traditionally found in heavy duty metal foundries, will be used to decontaminate metal components and concrete blocks as part of JRC-Ispra's decommissioning programme.
A team of seven people from Wheelabrator Group worked in conjunction with engineers from Warrington-based RWE and JRC Ispra to tailor the machine to fit the low headroom at its new home and enhance safety features.
Phil Smith, senior project manager at nuclear engineering specialist RWE NUKEM, said: "The nuclear sector is one of the world's most demanding industries with highly detailed specifications and exacting requirements, and with the global move away from nuclear facilities, the industry is faced with a large amount of potentially contaminated buildings and equipment."
Slightly contaminated material is produced when active nuclear facilities are decommissioned at the end of their useful life. Demolition of buildings creates large amounts of components, such as bricks, stone, steel and other structural material, considered to contain low levels of radioactivity. Lawson Pryke, technical director at Wheelabrator Group, said: "Abrasive blasting machines such as this offer huge economic benefits and added environmental advantages."