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Remote Inspection of Nuclear Power Plants with Mobile Robots

Nuclear power plants often require regular inspection and maintenance in order to ensure the safety of the reactors. Failing to carry out proper maintenance could result in catastrophe. Increased activity in reactor maintenance and refurbishment in the Canadian nuclear industry increases the potential for harmful exposure to radiation by inspection personnel. As a safety measure, the integrity of vessels, nozzles, valves, welds and pipes is periodically inspected using specialized sensors such as ultrasonic transducers, or visual cameras. In this project, a mobile robot will be designed for automating and improving the safety inspection procedures for nuclear power plants.

The outcome of the proposed research is a robotic inspection system. The robotic system will be able to explore a nuclear power plant for faults and defects. The hardware of the robotic inspection system includes a mobile robot equipped with high-resolution cameras. The design of the robot will ensure good mobility and stability to mitigate vibrations during periods of data acquisition. The software includes features to interpret the data and identify faults and defects. A user interface for remote control will also be built.

Exporting the new technology to other provinces or countries will create profit for New Brunswick companies. In addition to applications in the nuclear sector, numerous other tasks could be performed by autonomous and remotely controlled mobile robots to decrease a worker's exposure to hazardous work environments and to relieve workers from monotonous and repetitive tasks. Knowledge is now recognized as the driver of productivity and economic growth. The proposed research will help the province of New Brunswick create leadership and technical capability in mobile robotics. To compete in a global market, the Province needs more workers skilled in leading-edge technologies. This research project will not only provide a venue for the training of highly qualified personnel in the areas of robotics, nuclear power plant inspection, and intelligent systems, but also offer the potential for significant commercialization.


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This website was constructed using Vi IMproved. Last Update:  December 23, 2007. Howard Li. All Rights Reserved. Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.