Using Spot for data collection and sensing in nuclear environments
Josh Spires | 17 September, 2021 | The Sphere Drones Blog
Producing sustainable, clean energy is one of the most important problems for us to solve in our time. While it brings challenges of its own, nuclear energy continues to provide enormous quantities of carbon-free electricity to the world and will continue to do so for many years to come. Throughout the history of nuclear power, robotics have played an important role in the management, safety, and operations of generating plants. Agile mobile robots help these facilities to operate efficiently and safely, supporting remote inspection, dosage reduction, decommissioning, cleanup, and more.
Our customers are at the forefront of developing and refining applications for Spot in the nuclear power sector. Three of these customers will be joining us for a panel discussion on August 12th to share how they’re utilising the robot for increasing the safety, efficiency, and cost- effectiveness of their electrical production facilities.
Conducting safer inspections
Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is one of the largest, most diverse clean power producers in North America, maintaining a modern, sophisticated energy fleet. They’re testing Spot for tasks normally performed by operators under challenging conditions. In particular they’re interested in using Spot to support inspections of areas normally inaccessible to human operators.
Outfitted with an electronic personal dosimeter, Spot can navigate stairs, walkways, and other obstacles while being remotely controlled. Spot helps operators at OPG to identify potential conventional or radiological hazards.
Minimising risk and downtime
Talen Energy is one of the largest privately-owned independent power generation infrastructure companies in North America, operating a fleet of power plants that use diverse fuel sources. They have been testing Spot at the Susquehanna nuclear power plant for operation in areas that have high radiation when under power. Normally, the visual and thermal inspections needed to determine valve position faults or steam hazards inside of their BWR units require a costly partial or full power shutdown to make the areas safe for a human to enter. Talen believes Spot can help conduct these inspections safely and effectively, while avoiding expensive downtime.
They plan to use Spot to conduct visual and thermal inspections of a range of assets, as well performing radiation surveys on a periodical and as-needed basis.
Supporting decommissioning and sustainable energy
UKAEA, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, is a government agency supporting research and development of sustainable nuclear energy technology. They have worked with Spot in the lab and in the field to support safe operations and decommissioning.
UKAEA’s Spot’s was taken to Chernobyl by the University of Bristol. The University of Bristol deployed Spot throughout the exclusion Zone and within the New Safe Confinement, with a payload they had designed for radiation detection.
Experts from OPG, Talen Energy, and UKAEA joined us for a live panel discussion on August 12th. Our panelists shared their stories, lessons learned, and the future of using robots for nuclear management and operations. Register today to watch the recorded discussion.
Source: Boston Dynamics
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