Columbia Energy was contracted by Washington River Protection Solutions to design, fabricate, and test a prototype core drilling system for cutting a 55-inch hole in Hanford nuclear waste tank C-105.  Columbia Energy subcontracted KOR­-IT, Inc. for the fabrication of a custom core drill bit.

Prior to developing the remote cutting tool, Columbia Energy constructed concrete slabs of similar consistency as the tanks in order to provide a proper test medium for the prototype cutting instrument.  American Rock provided concrete in three short pours, one for each test slab (approximately four yards each).  Test cylinders were taken from each truck for performance of compressive tests at in accordance with ASTM C172 and C39.

The Core Drilling System was successfully implemented in the field on June 5, 2013 where a 55-inch diameter hole was cut into tank C-105.


  •  Mechanical Engineering
  • Design
  • Fabrication
  • NQA-1 Oversight
  • Construction
  • Mock-up and Testing
  • Operator Training


  • 12 ft height x 10 ft width
  • 55-inch diameter coring drill bit (barrels and diamonds)
  • Hollow shaft core bit
  • 12 ft. gear column
  • Plate adaptor
  • Specialized Rigging


  • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
  • Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS)
  • Office of River Protection (ORP)

Design Features

  •  Remotely operable
  • Radiation hardened for high-level radioactive environment
  • Built-in control console with touch-screen interface
  • Electrical systems conform to NFPA 70 (NEC), National Electric Code and is UL Listed
  • Integrated water addition system
  • Force, torque, and position feedback to prevent binding
  • Feed rates from <1 in/hr to 12 in/min