The US Government had a need to decommission old bombs. They went to TVA, and TVA came to Epcon for a unique solution. There were 2 issues:
- Decontaminate the old shells
- What to do with the pollution
In addition, because of the residual explosive charge in the bomb shells, it was imperative that the heating system was very safe, such as steam or indirect heat and the source had to be far away from the decontamination chamber. This system has been operating successfully since installation.
Epcon proposed a Thermal Clean Solution for dealing with the old bomb shells. This high-temperature Furnace, in heating principle and design, was somewhat similar to a Spheroidizing Furnace, with the exception of the guillotine door and the cart. The TVA furnace had the door mounted on the cart. The unit was designed for 2000°F; however, they operate at 1200°F to 1400°F and loaded with 150,000 pounds of bombshells.
Epcon Industrial Systems furnished a Decontamination Chamber and Thermal Oxidizer with 2 sets of Heat Exchangers with an operating temperature range anywhere from 800°F to 2000°F. The system manufactured for TVA was an indirect heating system to ensure there was no flame in the proximately of the system. The indirect heat is supplied by a Thermal Oxidizer, manufactured by Epcon, approximately 75 - 100 feet away from the source, with its location outdoors (wherein the furnace is indoors). The Epcon solution effectively 'killed 3 birds with one stone':
- Thermal Decontamination
- Indirect Heat
- Pollution Control Solution
TVA and the government were very happy to know that one company could do all of these things. Originally, they were soliciting bids from different sources for different pieces of equipment, including steam heat and a high pressure boiler. Epcon's solution avoided all these things.
The system consists of a Thermal Decontamination Chamber (car bottom type) located inside the building and the pollution control device sitting far away. The exhaust from the decontamination chamber is then ducted to the thermal oxidizer. Because of the nature of the explosives, the design features of the controls is extraordinary. No single manufacturer in the industry could have supplied this kind of equipment for a very reasonable cost. This system has been operating for many years.
This project was accomplished with input from TVA and complying with government requirements for the critical nature of the work that was performed in the furnace.