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Tele-operated robotised system for maintenance of nuclear reactor vessel

The main purpose of this project is the development of a
specialised robotic system for the maintenance of a
nuclear reactor vessel and internal workings.

Sometimes objects fall inside the nuclear plant reactor vessel during refueling. It is absolutely necessary to retrieve those objects before the reactor starts up again, otherwise vital elements could be hit in the reactor primary circuit. The main objective of the project is the development of a specialised system for this operation. The most critical aspect will be its kinematics and control. The complex 3D environment of the reactor vessel will demand important kinematic requirements: small section of the robot links, big working area of the robot, high number of DOF (Dimension of Freedom) (7-8), etc. This robot structure will probably lead to important structural flexibility. The controller will include a flexion compensating algorithm and an estimation of the tip position/orientation.Another aspect will be the watertightness of the system including the actuators, and internal and external sensors. The system will be controlled in three modes: totally tele-operated, assisted tele-operation, and mixing tele-operation and automatic control. - In the first mode, the human operator, through a powerful telepresence system, will control the robot unassisted. - In the second, the operator will use several forms of assistance, such as prohibited zone movements excluding and reaching the special zones, etc. - In the last mode, several operations, such as straight line or circular interpolation movements, will be performed automatically, only requiring operator supervision. The robot control system will be interfaced in a fast manner to the telepresence system and CAD (Computer-Aided Design) system. Precise problem definition and resolution will be followed by four work packages, each concentrating on one of these aspects: - WP1: framework for experimental reserach The purpose of this workpackage is to define a framework for analysis and to precisely describe the existing problems of the industrial context expected to be solved thanks to this project. The analysis of these problems will provide the requirements for the other tasks of the project. - WP2: specification of system architecture This package will specify necessary aspects of the system. We will define a common model for tele-operated robots. The resultant architecture will serve as a unifying glue for other workpackages. - WP3: system development This task will include the development of the project areas: arm, end-effector, man-machine interface, force feedback and 3D simulation matched to real images. - WP4: full exploitation This objective of this task is ensure a smooth transition to commercial exploitation.
Acronym: 
TRON
Project ID: 
1 565
Start date: 
01-09-1996
Project Duration: 
28months
Project costs: 
1 990 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.