Some of our clients need more rigorous laboratory testing than others. When it comes to the bolts that hold on the lids of flasks used to transport irradiated nuclear fuel by train, there is no room for error. We were recently asked to test these bolts, so we extended our accreditation and used new methods to ensure all the appropriate regulations were met.
The supply of the flask lid bolts, a high status contract, is also an exceedingly safety-critical product where failure could potentially result in death, serious injury and catastrophic damage to the environment for some considerable time.
The production of the lid bolts involved compliance to the strictest of specifications designed to ensure the integrity of the parts in service. All stages of manufacture and testing were closely monitored by third party witness representatives for conformity of the product to specification.
Rotech became involved with the project during the early planning stages in 2014 and we were vetted for suitability and ability to deliver the level of service and testing required to ensure compliance of this safety-critical product.
The demanding requirements of the testing regime required us to extend our UKAS schedule of accreditation to include Vickers Hardness Testing with an applied load of 100Kg, a high load not usually used in general testing practices. Rotech became the only UKAS test laboratory in the country accredited to perform this particular test, needed to secure the order with our customer.
Five batches of 75 flask lid bolts were submitted to the lab for macro-examination, grain flow, micro-examination, hardness uniformity examination and tensile testing against the Irradiated Fuel Transport Specification. The test samples were selected by the customer, using the results obtained from 100% hardness tests conducted on each sample from the supplied heat treatment batches.
The project ran for 18 months and we liaised closely with the customer, witness inspectors and the end user to ensure that the product conformed to the rigorous demands required for such an application ensuring both public and environmental safety.
On completion of the last report, the representative of the external inspection body and end user stated for inclusion in our records:
“For me to make ten or 12 visits to Rotech on this project, and to have no cause for complaint, is a record not many outfits have achieved over my 20-odd years in this position. I look forward to my next visit to Rotech whenever that may be. Keep up the good work and high standards.”
These compliments were echoed by the end user, stating that they have:
“An appreciation for the consistent quality of support and technical output from the Rotech team.”