Posted by: robotnews | April 6, 2007

Nuclear Robots

Control and maintenance of equipment in nuclear industries must be carried out to precision as a small incident could have far reaching consequences due to the volatile nature of nuclear technology. Thus robotic systems are used in nuclear industries. They shorten the mean time for to repair, by reducing response time to failures. There is no necessity for the suiting up of the “repair squad.” There is a reduction to health risks since human exposure is reduced while improving safety because robots are able to perform operations with consistency and without human error. Maintenance can take place during operations, instead of halting operation in the instance of an incident. This also makes the use of robotics in this industry is very cost effective, as the robot may pay for itself during one single application by preventing shutdown of a facility.The figure shows a robotic devices deployed to retrieve waste at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. There are several features required for maintenance in the nuclear industry. Due to low frequency of operation, a particular machine should be able to do a wide variety of tasks, to remain cost effective. Due to the layout of nuclear facilities, maintenance and repair require a fair level of dexterity. The uncertain impact of failure caused by the hazardous nature of the environment, leads us to the conclusion that a tele-operated robot would not just be advantageous, it would be essential. Thus robots are used for the following purposes: Operation and maintenance of industrial nuclear facilities and laboratories, maintenance in nuclear reactors, decommissioning and dismantling nuclear facilities, and lastly emergency intervention.

T. Ranjan
U036030X
http://www.cs.utk.edu/~parker/publications/Handbook99.pdf

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Responses

  1. This invention is a great one, it not only saves times, but now workers who are involved in such maintenance operations dont have to face such health risks anymore. However, these babies would put alot of people out of jobs, if it were to be used widely. How widely have these nuclear robots been implemented in the nuclear industries?

    Sivagami A(U037814E)

  2. Dear Sivagami,

    That is a very pertinent question. The hazards faced by workers in the nuclear industry has always been understood by the operators. As such from the beginning, human contact in these industries has been tried to be kept at a minumum. Furthermore, as safety is the paramount concern, these robots have been very widely used in nuclear industries.

  3. one burning question, i know of nuclear will cause electronic disturbance wave which will disable all devices, so how are these robots shielded from these radiation waves.

    U046232N Ang Rongjie

  4. Dear Rong Jie,

    Thats an interesting question which i had not thought about. Equipments can be designed to overcome radiation effects by careful selection of materials and components and by ensuring adequate design margins. This requires an understanding of the radiation damage mechanisms and relative merits of different design and manufacturing techniques. further information could be found in
    http://www.radiation.mbdaps.com/result.php?id=101. hope it helps to answer your question

    Ranjan

  5. Hey!

    Would it really be feasible to trust Robots (inanimate brainless, or artificially endowed machines) with something as dangerous as nuclear weapons?

    What if there is software failure? Or the battery runs out?

    -Rajalakshmi Raghavan


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