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UNDERWATER QUALIFICATION OF RD 500 MANIPULATOR

Objective

The work concerns industrial-scale underwater experimentation in nonradioactive conditions of the RD 500 prototype telemanipulation system, which has been already extensively tested in air with various tools. The typical nuclear dismantling environment concerned is a LWR vessel and fuel storage pool.

The objectives are:

adaptation of the existing RD 500 manipulator for underwater dismantling tasks;
assessment of the capability of the RD 500 manipulator to operate under water with various tools;
underwater qualification and performance assessment of a new ultrasonic imaging system;
qualification of the complete system by an in-field application and definition of an industrial underwater RD 500 system.

The research work will assess the feasibility of underwater dismantling operations, the performance of the computer-assisted modes of control and the assumption that the RD 500 system can be more effective than hands-on work in relevant decommissioning environment.

The CEA-UR will coordinate the research work. Subsidiary companies of the CEA and Framatome (SNE La Calhene and ATEA) will perform specific technical adaptations on the RD 500 systems and the underwater qualification tests.
The work concerns industrial scale underwater experimentation in nonradioactive conditions of the RD 500 prototype telemanipulation system, which has been already extensively tested in air with various tools. The typical nuclear dismantling environment concerned is a light water reactor (LWR) vessel and fuel storage pool. The objectives are:
adaptation of the existing RD 500 manipulator for underwater dismantling tasks;
assessment of the capability of the RD 500 manipulator to operate under water with various tools;
underwater qualification and performance assessment of a new ultrasonic imaging system;
qualification of the complete system by a field application and definition of an industrial underwater RD 500 system.

The identification of general tasks to be performed underwater, taking into account the hypothesis presently made for the dismantling of internal structures of pressurized water reactors (PWR) and the French RAPSODIE reactor, has been performed. 3 dismantling tools have been chosen, which permit the performance of most of these tasks and qualify the robot, together with 3 representative mock-ups to carry out thequalification tests. These are:
a mock-up of lower internal structures of a PWR vessel and an electroerosion tool;
a mock-up of the thermal baffles of the outlet sodium pipes of RAPSODIE and a plasma torch;
a mock-up of the bolted connection of the grid on the RAPSODIE vessel and grinding tool.
The ultrasonic imaging system, aiming at the provision of an image when normal vision is disturbed by environmental conditions due to the tools operation (dazzles, bubbles, etc), has been specified. The RD500 improvements, which are necessary to carry out the underwater tests (pressurization equipment, waterproof umbilical cable, etc) have been defined. A preliminary qualification procedure document has been established.
WORK PROGRAMME

1. Identification of underwater requirements and specification to be done on the RD 500 and the vision system.

1.1. Identification of relevant underwater tasks (CEA).
1.2. Selection of appropriate tooling systems (plasma arc, abrasive disc, electro-erosion) (CEA).
1.3. Definition of test mock-ups on which the tooling will be operated (Framatome, CEA).
1.4. Specification of the auxiliary test equipment (Framatome).
1.5. Specification of RD 500 adaptations, with particular view to its water-tightness (CEA).
1.6. Specification of the optical vision systems (TNO, CEA).
1.7. Drafting of a qualification procedure document based on relevant cutting operations (CEA).

2. Preparation of the preliminary tests in air and under water; the basic hardware and software will be developed/adapted, manufactured and assembled

2.1. Study, manufacturing and shop test of adaptation of tooling selected in 1.2. (Fr.+ CEA)
2.2. Design and manufacturing of RD 500 adaptations; preliminary underwater tests (CEA).
2.3. Vision systems acquisition, adaptations and developments (TNO, CEA).
2.4. Manufacturing of the auxiliary test equipment (Framatome).

3. Preliminary testing of the complete system

3.1. Individual air and underwater testing at each partner's laboratory (All).
3.2. Installation of simplified test mock-ups for main sub-system testing in air (Fr.+ CEA).
3.3. Main sub-systems testing (Framatome, CEA).
3.4. Implementation of improvements (All).

4. Underwater qualification tests

4.1. Installation of the various equipments in a water pool at ATEA/Framatome (Framatome).
4.2. Operational verifications of the complete system (All).
4.3. Performance of the qualification tests as defined in 1.7. (Framatome)

5. Final evaluation and specifications with respect to conditions in real dismantling projects; evaluation of the costs of an industrial RD 500 system and of its radiological impact on work force and working area (All).

Coordinator

COMMISSARIAT A L'ENERGIE ATOMIQUE
Address
Rue De La Federation 31-33
75015 Paris
France

Participants (2)

NEDERLANDSE ORGANISATIE VOOR TOEGEPAST NATUURWETENSCHAPPELIJK ONDERZOEK TNO*
Netherlands
Address
1,Stieltjesweg 1
2628 CK Delft
Société Framatome
France
Address
Paris La Défense
92084 Paris La Défense