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Remote control in a conservation technology of nuclear reactors


Development of methods and Hardware of Remote Control for Nuclear Reactors Conservation Technology and Other Technologies Applied in Nuclear-Hazardous Industry

Tech Area / Field

  • PHY-OPL/Optics and Lasers/Physics
  • INF-SIG/Sensors and Signal Processing/Information and Communications
  • INS-DET/Detection Devices/Instrumentation

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Siberian Chemical Combine, Russia, Tomsk reg., Seversk

Supporting institutes

  • Siberian Branch of RAS / Institute of High Current Electronics, Russia, Tomsk reg., Tomsk


  • IZFP/Fraunhofer institute, Germany, Saarbrücken\nLasers,Plasmas and Photonic Processes Laboratory(LP3), France, Marseille

Project summary

The goal of the project suggested is development of optical methods and hardware of diagnostics and control of the constructive parts of a temporarily conservated and working channel-type graphite-uranium reactors, technological equipment of radiochemical industry (pipelines, containers, cavities, etc.), technological trunks, toxic and radio-active waste stores with the aim to increase their reliability and safety operating. The Project is based on the recent achievements in optics, laser techniques, recording systems and information processing system.

Visual control is one of the basic procedures of remote monitoring of a conservated or operated channel-type nuclear reactors. A visual hardware of diagnostics and control being available now at the SCC have been developed about 15 years ago, presently being very often not capable to meet the modern requirements charged in respect to their quality, reliability, or information density. At the end of 1980s, the endoscopes of RVP-type were used for remote visual control at the SCC. Later on, some of them were modernized and it being employed at the SCC up to now. The optics of such endoscopes is made from the usual non-radiation-resistant glass, the endoscopes themselves are not hermetic having short-focus lenses allowing ocular microscopic observations only. One of the central failures is also the weak highlighting system (the lamps of up to 60 W by power) providing observation of the object at short distances only. A mechanical checking hardware of the technological reactor channels (bars, and the like) does not provide operative, continuous and qualitative control.

The improved reliable control on the working stages, mostly important at exploitation or mothballing of the industrial channel-type graphite-uranium reactors is issue of the day. Besides, the very actual is the problem of visual checking of the internal surface of shell and welded seams of technological equipment at radiochemical works since the absence of such hardware leads to the necessity to unseal the vessels that is neither economically profitable nor environmentally friendly.

With the aim to increase operating safety of technological equipment at SCC, the new control and diagnostics systems are required to be developed which could essentially widen information content about the studied object and increase its reliability. Such systems ought to meet the definite requirements and provide the following possibilities:

· Possibility of penetration into internal space through technological channels or other driving with the diameter no more than 70 mm;
· Possibility to obtain virtue images of the objects observed within a radius of up to 5 m;
· Possibility of microscopic and telescopic observation;
· Possibility of visual (ocular) and television observation of the inner spaces with video record;
· Possibility of end and side observation;
· Possibility of spectral composition recording of reflected radiation and reradiated emanation from the object observed.

At the same time, the light source used in the system as a highlighting must provide maximal color rendering and sufficient level of highlighting inside the vessels, wells, or cavities.

At present time, at the SCC, modernization of visual means of diagnostics and control is being conducted. In particular, the modern highlighting lamps with quartz bulbs with total power of up to 300 W are used now in the engineering samples of endoscopes. Development of hermetic seals for the units using radiation-proof and heat-resistant rubber edges has been done. To obtain operative documentation of testing results, endoscope is being attached to television and video equipment.

Investigations and development of high-power UV, IR and visible laser light sources (excimer and nitrogen lasers, CO2-lasers, SRS converters) have been carried out at the Institute of High Current Electronics (HCEI) for many years. The participants of the proposed Project are well experienced in experimental and theoretical scientific research in this field. By now, the lasers producing pulse energy in the range from 0.001 up to 200 J have been created. Formation conditions of high-quality beam produced by such lasers and possibilities of its conversion into visible spectral region were studied. The produced beams are employed in various fields of science and technology, including medicine, applied in diagnostics of human hollow organs. Such a diagnostics is realized on the basis of visual observations and measurement of spectral characteristics of the organs under study. Up to the present moment, the data link in the region of optical images and spectral characteristics of matters in reflected and fluorescent light has been turned out. Much experience in analysis and processing of the acquired information, including software elaboration thereto has been gained at the Institute.

The laser radiation sources scheduled to be used in the remote system of diagnostics and control under development will allow, from one side, to provide necessary highlighting of the studied remote objects in visual methods, and, from the other side, to find out the new methods for object state analysis. Combination of knowledge and experience of SCC technical personnel in the field of diagnostic systems for nuclear reactors and scientists from HCEI in the field of laser techniques and medical diagnostic systems will provide achievement of successful solving of the Project tasks.

The works under development of efficient lasers with various spectral regions, formation of minimal radiation convergence, and utilizing such laser sources in diagnostics of different objects are being conducted in a close collaboration with the world scientific community. The results of scientific work are presented at International conferences and discussed during personal meetings on visits to National and University laboratories of Russia, USA, Netherlands, France, Italy, and Germany.

The following results of Project fulfillment are expected:

· new methods of diagnostics and control for technological equipment of nuclear-hazardous industry will be developed;
· a system for remote inspection, control and diagnostics of constructions of the operated and conservated nuclear reactors, as well as technological equipment of radiochemical plants, technological trunks, and stores of toxic and radioactive products will be developed and created;
· efficient small-sized laser light sources will be created.
The Project value lies in the following provisions:
· increasing in exploitation safety of the operated and conservated nuclear reactors, technological equipment of radiochemical plants, technological trunks, and stores of toxic and radioactive waste;
· providing Russian scientists with an essential financial support during the period of Project fulfillment;
· supporting applied research and development of various technologies with peaceful aims in the field of environmental protection, power generation, and nuclear safety.

The commercial value of the proposed Project consists in creation of pre-production model of the remote diagnostics system and small-sized laser sources.

The proposed Project meets the ISTC aims providing a possibility for the team of Russian scientists possessing knowledge and qualification in the field of nuclear weapon development to reorientate their efforts for peaceful activities directed to people safety afford.

The close works by thematic are being conducted at the following foreign scientific centers:

· Fraunhofer Institute Zerstoerungsfreie Prufverfahren (IZFP), Saarbrucken, Germany.
· Laboratoire Lasers, Plasmas et Procedes Photoniques, CNRS / FRE2165, Universite de la mediterranee, Marseille, France

It is expedient that the following persons from the listed above teams were involved in Project fulfillment as collaborators:

· Fraunhofer IZFP – Prof. M. Kroening.

· University of Marseille (CNRS / FRE2165) – Dr. M.Sentis

Close collaboration with foreign research centers would support integration of weapon scientists into the world-learned society.

On the whole, the HCEI and SCC possess the basic part of equipment and experience necessary for fulfillment of experimental studies under the Project proposed. Technical approach and methodology are based on experimental investigations and elaboration of theoretical models, the results of which were stated in scientific publications and papers delivered at International conferences by the Project participants [1-21].

The problem of development of new methods and means of diagnostics and control of nuclear hazardous works elements is of great interest in the whole world. Fulfillment of the Project is expected to make an important contribution to this problem solving.