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IAEA awards South Korean robot for spent fuel inspection (The Korea Times)

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IAEA awards South Korean robot for spent fuel inspection (The Korea Times)
Posted : 2018-03-12 16:19

  South Korean robot for spent fuel inspection

The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute's spent fuel check vehicle was selected in the Small Unmanned Surface Vehicle category in the "IAEA Robotics Challenge 2017." / Yonhap

South Korea's state-of-the-art robot has received a top honor from an international atomic authority for its capability to inspect spent nuclear fuel.

The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI)'s newly developed spent fuel check vehicle (SCV) has been selected in the "Small Unmanned Surface Vehicle" section of the "IAEA Robotics Challenge 2017," according to the institute Monday. The competition was held in Australia in last August.

KAERI's brainchild was selected along with inventions from England and Hungary.
There was also a "Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle" section.

KAERI's SCV can travel at 30 centimeters per second, faster than its competitors, and can automatically analyze spent fuel. Its user-friendly user-interface (UI) makes it easy to maneuver by remote control.

Its compact size, weighing less than 11 kilograms, allows it to be carried on a plane. The SCV can be assembled in under than five minutes, while minimized areas of outside exposure allow fast clean-up.

The SCV's final evaluation will take place inside an actual nuclear power plant. The dry run is expected within this year. Once it passes the technological test, the SCV will be prepared for mass production and export, with numbers in accordance with the IAEA's request.

"It's a good opportunity for KAERI to lead the world's robotic development in nuclear energy industry," said KAERI President Ha Jae-joo.

It is the first time that IAEA has been involved in developing a robot to check the environmental impact of nuclear energy.

So far, the global atomic authority has been sending experts to inspect spent nuclear fuel in underwater storage and radioactive waste in containers on land. But the organization has been aware that areas that can be difficult to access, or with elevated radiation levels, would be best inspected by robots.

A handheld optical instrument called an Improved Cerenkov Viewing Device (ICVD) is used to confirm the presence of spent fuel stored underwater.

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