atw 2018-05v6


atw Vol. 63 (2018) | Issue 5 ı May


| | Fig. 3.

Mounting of AZURo in a nuclear power plant

(Sources: Orano GmbH and RWE Power AG, Biblis).

| | Fig. 1.

Under water test of the modified robot (source: Orano GmbH).

| | Fig. 2.

GUI with integrated simulation surroundings (Source: Orano GmbH).

| | Fig. 4.

GUI with integrated simulation surroundings (Source: Orano GmbH).

• an extensive prevention from handling

failures during decommissioning

of nuclear plants.

3 Development AZURo

3.1 Basics

Demands on the overall system and on

the different subsystems were derived

and defined. A detailed market investigation

based on those requirements

was carried out and a robot including

control system was selected (Table 1).

A detailed risk assessment of

the system was performed in the

framework of FMEA. For this, the

complete system was subdivided

into expedient subsidiary systems

and subsequently into structural components

which were assessed by

means of their risks. Based on this risk

estimation an intervention respectively

recovery concept was established.

In addition, a safety concept with

system-independent collision detection

has been elaborated complying

with the demands on applications in

nuclear power plants.

3.2 Upgrade of the robot

For preparation of its upgrade, the

robot has been investigated with

respect to its underwater capability.

The robot was then suitably adapted

and, subsequently, the water tightness

has been verified by respective underwater

tests (Figure 1).

Mock-ups as well as grippers and

tools were designed in order to test

the reference scenario in practice.

The intervention and retrieval

concepts of the robot were tested


3.3 Software and control

ambit (development and


The selected software enables the

modelling of the workspace in

simulation surroundings. The workspace

for the field test (c.f. chapter 4)

was modelled and tested successfully.

Superordinate control architecture

was developed and implemented.

The interface to the operator is

represented in the elaborated and

tailored Graphical User Interface

(GUI) (Figure 2).

Derived from the previously

prepared specification, solutions for

the position detection and for the

additionally necessary sensors have

been investigated and an appropriate

camera as well as a master arm have

been selected.

The master arm with developed

force feedback option was integrated

into the control system of the robot.

The communication of additional applications

(such as tool, camera, gripper,

further tools) have been established.

For safety reasons forerunning

collision detection was developed,

reviewed by expert and approved.

Investigations on calibration of the

workspace by means of a laser sensor

as well as mechanically by use of fixed

stops were carried out.

4 Field test in a nuclear

power plant

In cooperation with RWE Power AG

(today RWE Nuclear GmbH) a field

test of the system in the nuclear

plant Biblis was performed (Figure 3

and Figure 4). This field test was

carried out in the spent fuel pool

containing nuclear fuel at a water

depth of 14 meters.

For this the robot system was

qualified with expert’s supervision for

application in a nuclear power plant.

The following qualification topics had

to be demonstrated and verified:

• safekeeping of the fuel assemblies


• safekeeping of the fuel pool liner


• protection of the robot electronics

from high radiation exposure,

• electrical safe operation of the

device in the spent fuel pool,

Operation and New Build

Applications of Underwater-Robotics in Nuclear Power Plants ı Gunnar Fenzel, Dr. Dietmar Nieder and Alexandra Sykora

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