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Designing Gloveboxes in Repurposed Facilities


A Complex and Challenging Puzzle

Designing gloveboxes comes with a multitude of challenges. First and foremost, a design team must consider the purpose of the enclosure(s) and adjust the design accordingly. In addition, NQA1 requirements for the design and fabrication of gloveboxes for nuclear containment applications are extremely complicated and invoke a higher standard than typical mechanical design applications, which adds an additional layer of complexity. These factors make even greenfield projects, where you can design without existing physical constraints, a challenge. Can you imagine designing a nuclear containment glovebox to fit within an existing facility?

We can! In an effort to minimize costs, many projects in the nuclear world repurpose existing buildings. Sometimes this means allocating existing space within an operating facility and designing to fit within the confinements of that existing physical space. This method presents additional challenges, not only for the gloveboxes themselves, but also for design of the supporting facility infrastructure. A design team must come up with practical and creative solutions to solve the dual challenges of combining existing utilities and introducing new equipment without impacting the existing operations.

Trying to fit special facility equipment and gloveboxes that support a large production process into a facility that was built with an entirely different purpose in mind heightens these design challenges. When placing glovebox equipment and laying out floor plans, we must always maintain the integrity of the process while addressing problems like ingress/egress, ceiling heights, and existing walls. It’s extremely complex and must be done right.

As nuclear facility and glovebox experts, Merrick applies our extensive experience with glovebox designs to projects just like these, helping our clients successfully execute projects that support the DOE and NNSA nuclear weapons mission. We rely on the vast experience of our talented staff, located in offices throughout the United States, to take the variety of puzzle pieces that make up a project and create a successful design that satisfies a client’s needs. It’s work that we love to do!

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