Individuals from across the Sellafield project supply chain attended a robotics and innovation event in West Cumbria last week to determine whether the innovative use of technology could be applied to nuclear waste disposal at the facility.
Through a working partnership with the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence for Nuclear hub, one of only four robotics hubs in Britain, Sellafield Ltd is employing the use of robotics in order to carry out functions in nuclear environments.
To be fit for purpose, the robotics used at the Sellafield facility must be resistant to radioactive decay and must also be easy to decontaminate so that repairs and maintenance may be carried out on them.
The robotics which will be employed at the nuclear waste disposal facility will carry out functions such as: cleaning the walls of one of the legacy nuclear storage ponds, continuously inspecting defined areas for radioactive contamination from a fixed source, and extending radiological and contamination detection to reach restricted, or hard to enter, places of the site.
Furthermore, Sellafield, while attending the event, proposed three other areas in which robotics could be applied but were yet to be so, these including: deployment techniques to allow remote working at height in high hazardous areas, autonomous removal of Special Nuclear Material packages from a store to a transport container for export, and remote inspection of Special Nuclear Material packages.
Dr Frank Allison from Game Changers stated: “The event highlighted the ways in which robotics and artificial intelligence can be used within Sellafield to support decommissioning. There were exhibitions of cutting-edge robotic technology and three new exciting challenges are now open for the supply chain to find solutions to.
“It brought together people from a wide variety of organisations and industries and we’re looking forward to nurturing new relationships and paving the way for some really innovative thinking.”
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