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TRIUMF | Vancouver, BC | Canada

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Holy Smokes! Flying Concrete!

Howdy!  Lindsay here, current Communications Assistant Co-op at TRIUMF.

Since the cyclotron’s in shutdown mode right now for maintenance at our lovely facility, there’s been a lot of upgrades and changes – the newest one being the movement of the replacement concrete lid for one of the hot cells in the Target Hall.  Now I know you’re thinking “It’s just concrete – so what?” but it was quite a sight to see!

First of all, the concrete block is super dense – weighing 19.6 tonnes – and a huge crane was needed to lift the block.  To make things even more complicated, the block needed to be hoisted over top of the ISAC Service Annex, in order to get to the Target Hall (don’t worry, we planned ahead and evacuated the building).  Now to make things even MORE complicated, the block had to be lowered through a “hatch” in the ceiling with only a few inches of breathing room for maneuvering.

Hot Cells

A crane lowers a 19.6 tonne concrete lid into TRIUMF's Target Hall.

We then scurried over into the Target Hall with our lab coats and booties to see the next stage.  Once lowered through the hatch, the block needed to be tilted as it needs to be horizontal in order for it to be placed on top of the hot cell.  To do this, engineers used a “come along” to gradually coax the block along metal rollers in order to slowly shift it.  After, the block was lowered onto two concrete holders, which will keep it secure until it’s moved into place on the hot cell.

I must say though, the best part was seeing all the department heads and supervisors peeking in to see what was up.  Even though it was just a concrete block being moved, everyone was so excited to see all the cranes set up and the process of moving it.  It just goes to show that they don’t only get excited about science!

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