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ERF2017 Workshop on
Robotics for Nuclear Environments

22nd March 2017

General Information

Session Title: Robotics for Nuclear Environments

Date: 22nd March 2017, 8:30-10:00

Location: Edinburgh, ERF 2017, register here



Motivation and Objectives

There are many problems that should be solved relevant to nuclear applications. One main problem is nuclear cleanup which is potentially the biggest and most impactful application for real-world service robots in the coming few years, with huge societal importance. In UK alone, cleanup of legacy waste (accumulated since 1950s) represents the largest environmental remediation project in the whole of Europe, estimated to need £90-220 billion over next 100 years. 20-40% of this work must be done by robots as the materials are too hazardous for humans. Almost every kind of robotics is needed (grasping and manipulation, vehicles, flying robots, snake-bots, SLAM, vision, often in highly unstructured environments). We have successfully organized a workshop on a similar topic last year for the first time which primarily focused on nuclear cleanup. We would like to extend the discussions to address other relevant processes and tasks in this domain in a second workshop such as monitoring, automation, human involvement, required robotic setup in these extreme situations, as there is a great need for development in this area. There will also be discussions on actual achievements and gaps for future research.

Agenda of the workshop

- 08:30 – 08:35:  Introduction by the organisers

- 08:35 – 09:25 :  Invited talks

- 09:25 – 10:00:  Round table panel discussion and wrap up

Invited Speakers

  • Rustam Stolkin, Royal Society Industry Fellow for Nuclear Robotics, University of Birmingham, UK
    H2020 RoMaNS and Related Nuclear Robotics Projects    

  • Simon Watson,  Manchester University
    Mobile Robots for Nuclear Decommissioning at Sellafield and Fukushima

  • Tony Pipe, Deputy Director of Bristol Robotics Lab, UK
    The potential for different forms of safe Human-Robot teamwork in nuclear decommissioning

  • Philippe Garrec, Researcher at CEA, French Centre for Atomic Energy, France
    Master-Slave Telemanipulation

  • Jae-Hee Kim, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI), Korea 
    Pole climbing robot working in complex pipe structures

  • Andrew Graham, Technical Director, OC Robotics
    Lasersnake 2: Snake-arm Robots for Nuclear Intervention and Decommissioning

  • Matteo Zoppi, Assistant Professor, PMAR Robotics group, University of Genova
    Robotized Sorting of Nuclear Waste Comprising Soft Items

  • Ladislav Vargovcik, Division Director, ZTS ZTS Research and Development Institute Kosice, Slovakia
    Examples of Robotic Liquidation of Metal and Sludge RAW at the Decommissioning of NPPs

  • Joël Vanden Bosch, Business Development Manager, Cybernetix, France
    Example of use of Robotics for Nuclear High Level Cell Decommissioning and Inspection of Offshore Assets

  • Ali Muhammad, Senior Scientist, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Finland
    Validation of Maintenance Operation for ITER Fusion Reactor

Panel Discussion

During the panel discussion, we would like to address the following topics: If you want to address an additional topic, please mailcyour suggestion to

  1. What are the main nuclear challenges that require robotic solutions (decommissioning and waste handling, disaster/emergency intervention/remediation, new-build reactor day-to-day maintenance, fusion-energy research facilities, other?) 

  2. Can we connect these to more specific robotic functionalities (manipulation, mobility, vision of various kinds)?

  3. What current/established research-lab methods could usefully/rapidly be transferred to industry right now to give them useful new capabilities?

  4. What are the unsolved robotics challenges, that require future/ongoing robotics research?

  5. What are the right funding methods and consortium structures needed? Industry versus research council funding, academia-industry collaboration, cross-dscipline collaborations of robotics-nuclear experts?

  6. Perhaps also - can we compile a list of interesting/successful/unsuccessful current/previous uses of robotics for real nuclear applications worldwide/historically? What can be learned from these?

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