Dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the extensive drainage network across the 135-acre site of the Dounreay nuclear research facility in Caithness – which is in the process of being decommissioned – is a bespoke GULLYWhale Plus MVC (medium volume combination) tanker.
Manufactured by Whale Tankers – a specialist manufacturer to the waste and cleaning industries – the GULLYWhale joins a hybrid fleet of cleaning vehicles that is actively operational as decommissioning at Dounreay continues. It is expected that Dounreay will become a brownfield site by 2025.
Operated by Johnson Controls – a globally diversified technology and industrial leader specialising in products, services and solutions designed to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings – the GULLYWhale has been developed to incorporate an advanced HEPA filter to meet specific operational needs.
Conforming to BSEN1822 Part 1 and with a Nuclear Standards rating of H14, the HEPA filter is 99.99% efficient. With such an efficiency rating, the GULLYWhale is capable of dealing with any radiological contamination found when cleaning out potentially contaminated gullies.
Mounted on an MAN TG-M 18.240 4 x 2 chassis, the 18-tonne GVW GULLYWhale features an 1800-gallon capacity tank. With vacuum provided by an efficient rotary lobe oil free vacuum pump, the medium volume combination tanker also has on board a high pressure jetting system. Specified by Dounreay to help clean drains and clear blockages, the Orca 240 high-pressure pump can deliver 120 l/min at 120 bar. To address all-important health and safety issues surrounding high pressure jetting, the GULLYWhale now features enhanced functionality, including a safe start mode that ensure jetting pressure reverts to zero after each operation; soft start that allows jetting pressure to commence at a manageable 25 bar, and pulse jetting that, as its names suggests, introduces a pulse to the flow.
Commenting on the new GULLYWhale MVC, Johnson Controls’ estate manager, Peter Swanson said: “Although, as the name suggests, it will be primarily used for cleaning the road gullies, it is a versatile machine capable of much more. The Dounreay site has an extensive network of drains in varying conditions and they require almost constant maintenance and repair. Basically, it reaches the parts other methods fail to reach! As a result, the drains have never been so clean.”
Whilst a two-man team will normally operate the vehicle on a rota basis, a total of six workers have received familiarisation training from Whale Tankers, and have been carrying out trials of the machine on site.
The team leader is Jim MacAdie, who said: “We have already been using the new gully sucker extensively around the site. I am impressed with the range and power it has. We particularly like the built-in Whale grid-lifter, which takes the hard work out of lifting stubborn manhole covers”.
The tanker will also be useful in areas such as the milliscreens, where blockages and overflow issues will be tackled without the need for manual handling. As a result, it is also currently involved in drainage investigations off-site for DSRL projects.