UK Nuclear Licensed Site - Cylinder Wash Stations

Nuclear power generation is complex. The ultimate aim of releasing energy from atoms requires hundreds of supporting processes and functions to ensure controlled and contained nuclear reactions.

SCX Special Projects has decades of experience in designing, engineering, building and installing fit-for-purpose handling solutions for a broad range of nuclear sector activities.

The Challenge

At our client’s site, large cylinders are used in the enrichment process of Uranium Hexafluoride (UF6). As part of the process, depleted materials known as ‘Tails’ need to be removed from the cylinders to prevent contamination.

This can be achieved via a washing process, however the cylinder’s shape, weight, limited interior access and risk of operator contamination present a number of mechanical handling obstacles.

The Solution

SCX Special Projects was commissioned to design, engineer, build and install four Cylinder Wash Stations, along with the control systems to help operators oversee the washing process.

The wash stations comprise a lifting table with a surrounding platform to allow personnel access to the cylinders. SCX’s handling solution supports, secures and manipulates the cylinders, along with the high-pressure hoses required to perform the washing and hydrostatic testing processes.

Hydraulic lifting tables

  • The lift table in each wash station is raised and lowered using a hydraulic ram, fed by a central power pack
  • The angle of the cylinder is important to the effectiveness of the wash process, so the lift tables automatically tilt to preset positions of 0° and 66°
  • The cylinder is secured to its support cradle by two clamping mechanisms, while the table itself pivots on bearings attached to the main steel structure


Hose management

  • Each wash station incorporates three flexible hoses, which together provide the washing and hydrostatic leak testing functionality
  • The high pressure hoses are supported by an energy chain to ensure they remain securely in place when fluid flows through them, regardless of the position of the cylinder
  • A retaining door is fitted to each wash station to provide additional protection when the hoses are in operation


Safety and control through EC&I

  • All four wash stations are linked to a central PLC, while local panels allow operators to issue control commands to each individual station
  • The central PLC interfaces with the Plant Control System, receiving signals to instigate cylinder motions, and returning signals on the status of each wash station
  • The mechanical and electrical solution was designed in-house by SCX for a design life of 20 years


Let's talk more about nuclear handling solutions

Hundreds of processes support and surround the core activity of nuclear power generation, creating by-products that need to be handled with care.

We have decades of experience in creating bespoke handling systems for the nuclear sector - with a primary focus on safety. Talk to us today.

Call us on +44 114 262 6199, email us at, or complete the contact form below and we'll be in touch.

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SCX Special Projects Ltd

Roman Ridge Road, Sheffield, S9 1GA, United Kingdom

t:  +44 (0)114 262 6199