Francis, J., Zhang, G. and Parker, D.
Case study: Vortex amplifier assemblies for glovebox applications containing radiological hazard.
Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part E: Journal of Process Mechanical Engineering, 226
Operation of gloveboxes containing radiological hazards relies on risks being broadly acceptable. Worker protection is maintained in the event of damage to the containment wall or gloves by a vortex amplifier (VXA). The most recent gloveboxes to be made active at the Sellafield site are protected by a ‘Mini-VXA’, which is a geometrically scaled down version of the previous standard version. This article describes the assembly that incorporates the mini-VXA. It traces the major innovations in VXA system technology that have been employed on alpha gloveboxes at Sellafield since 1970, culminating in the discovery of high levels of O2 in gloveboxes protected by the mini-VXA during commissioning of same. Laboratory tests and field trials are reported that were aimed at overcoming the unexpectedly high demand of the mini-VXA for inert gas; and the solution eventually adopted.