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Development of new and novel low cost robot inspection methods for in-service inspection of nuclear installation

Objective

The safe operation of the 450 nuclear power plants around the world and 210 in Europe depends on the regular in-service inspection of the reactor pressure vessels, which contain the nuclear fuel. Reactor Pressure Vessels (RPVs) which house the fuel of a nuclear power plant are made of thick steel sections welded together. This steel becomes brittle with age and is therefore more susceptible to the rapid growth of cracks.

These RPVs contain water under high pressure and are particularly susceptible to a process known as 'stress-corrosion cracking'. Current methods of inspection have major drawbacks because:
- They require large and heavy robots costing millions of Euros. In most cases these robots require the use of a central mast manipulator and insertion of this mast is a difficult and time-consuming operation, requiring the use of the Plant's polar crane and causing disruption to other activities during the plant outage thus increasing time of inspection.
- These require several large inspection sensors placed in complex "probe pans" to inspect large areas. The probe pans have to be changed several times thus increasing time of inspection.
- They can sometimes miss defects or wrongfully size them. All the above current drawbacks mean that large amounts of time consuming manual intervention is required during inspection thus requiring operators to work in radiation hazardous areas. This also increases inspection time, which carries a huge economic cost.

To overcome the above drawbacks this project satisfies an urgent need to develop new and novel inspection methods, which can speed up inspection times, improve defect detectability and reduce operator exposure to dangerous radiation whilst working inside the reactor containment.

Call for proposal

FP6-2002-SME-1
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

Cooperative - SMEs-Co-operative research contracts

Coordinator

TWI LIMITED
Address
Granta Park, Great Abington
Cambridge
United Kingdom

Participants (16)

IMASONIC SA
France
Address
15 Rue Alain Savary
Besancon
NDT SOFT LTD.
United Kingdom
Address
9 Burn View Kildrum, Cumbernauld
Glasgow
TRUEFLAW LTD.
Finland
Address
Tekniikantie 21
540 Espoo
ATG S.R.O.
Czechia
Address
Matejska 2416
Prague
TECNITEST INGENIEROS SL
Spain
Address
C/ciudad De Frias, 1 - Nave 4
Madrid
MITSUI BABCOCK ENERGY LIMITED
United Kingdom
Address
11 The Boulevard
Crawley
NATIONAL NUCLEAR CORPORATION LTD
United Kingdom
Address
Booths Hall, Chelford Road
Knutsford
IGNALINA NUCLEAR POWER PLANT
Lithuania
Address

Visaginas
TEOLLISUUDEN VOIMA OY LTD
Finland
Address
Teollisuuden Voima Oy
Olkiluoto
LONDON SOUTH BANK UNIVERSITY
United Kingdom
Address
103 Borough Road
London
PEAK NDT LTD.
United Kingdom
Address
Unit 7, The Derwent Business Centre, Clarke Street
Derby
ZENON S.A. - ROBOTICS AND INFORMATION
Greece
Address
5 Kanari Street
Glyka Nera, 153 54 Athens
REAKTORTEST S.R.O
Slovakia
Address
Jana Bottu Str. 2
Trnava
CEZ KTD. NUCLEAR POWER GENERATION SECTION
Czechia
Address

Dukovany
VERMON SA
France
Address
180 Rue General Renault
Tours
TECHNICAL SOFTWARE CONSULTANTS LTD
United Kingdom
Address
7 Torriano Mews, Torriano Avenue
London