Remotely Operated Scabbling at Argonne National Laboratory-East Argonne, Illinois

Site Name:

Argonne National Laboratory


Argonne, Illinois

Period of

Not identified


Field demonstration

Remotely-Operated Scabbler
- Pentek, Inc. Moose® scabbler
- Consists of three subsystems - scabbling head assembly, on-board, high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) vacuum system, and six-wheeler chassis; remote operation performed using a small control panel attached to the scabbler by a tether (50-ft used for demonstration)
- Scabbling head - seven 2 1/4-in diameter reciprocating scabbling bits, each with a 9-point tungsten carbide-tip capable of delivering 1,200 hammer impacts/min
- HEPA vacuum system - two-stage positive filtration system that deposits waste into an on-board 23-gal drum
- Chassis - independent skid steering for 360-degree rotation
- During demonstration - average rate of scabbling - 130ft2/hr for a 2-person crew

Cleanup Authority:
Not identified

Technical Contacts:
Linda Lukart-Ewansil
Pentek, Inc

Susan Madaris
Florida International University
DOE Contacts:
Richard Baker
DOE, Chicago Operations Office

- Beta/gamma radiation

Waste Source:
Nuclear processing operations

Type/Quantity of Media Treated:
Debris (concrete floor)

Purpose/Significance of Application:
Demonstration of a remotely-operated scabbler to decontaminate radioactive concrete flooring

Regulatory Requirements/Cleanup Goals:
- The objectives of the demonstration were to evaluate the remotely-operated scabbler for concrete flooring contaminated with beta/gamma radiation

- During the demonstration, the scabbler removed an average of 1/8-inch concrete from 620ft2 of the concrete floor
- Contamination levels (total beta/gamma radiation) reduced from a maximum of 105,000 dpm/100 cm2 to 3,500 dpm/100 cm2
- Waste generated - 37ft3 mix of powder and small chips of paint and concrete

Cost Factors:
- Costs for the Pentek Moose® - $165,000 equipment cost; $1,995/day labor rate (two trained operators); and $2,400 for replacement parts
- For the cost analysis, the Pentek Moose® was compared to a baseline technology of manual scabbling, using the demonstration area (620ft2) and a hypothetical job size of 2,500 ft2 (area requiring one week of effort).
- The Pentek Moose® was more expensive than the baseline technology for the smaller area; but was comparable to the baseline technology for the larger area
- The report includes a detailed analysis of the effect of labor rates, equipment transportation costs, waste disposal costs, and other factors on the cost of the technology

The Pentek Moose® is a remotely-operated scabbler used to scarify concrete floors and slabs. A demonstration of the technology was conducted at the Argonne National Laboratory-East, CP-5 Reactor on a floor area (620ft2) contaminated with beta/gamma radiation. The Moose® includes a head assembly, on-board, high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) vacuum system, and six-wheeler chassis. The scabbler is operated remotely using a small control panel attached to the scabbler by a tether, 50 to 300 ft in length. A 50-ft tether was used for the demonstration.

A two-person crew, one person to operate the scabbler and one to manage hoses and cords, removed an average of 1/8 in concrete from an area of 620ft2 or at a rate of 130ft2/hr. Total beta/gamma radiation levels were reduced from a maximum of 105,000 dpm/100 cm2 to 3,500 dpm/100 cm2 following the demonstration. Approximately 37ft3 of waste was generated by the scabbling, consisting of a mixture of powder and small pieces of paint chips and concrete. The cost analysis showed that a number of factors affect the cost of the remotely-operated scabbler compared to the baseline of manual scabbling, including labor rates, costs to transport equipment, and waste disposal. The system is commercially available; however, several design improvements were suggested based on the results of the demonstration including eliminating the need for a second operator, increasing the size of the waste drum from 23-gal to 55-gal, and adding a second vacuum connection to the rear of the unit to collect small pieces of debris.