REACH Nuclear decommissioning access and inspection
The REACH system developed by Eadon Consulting is a groundbreaking technology that could help the nuclear energy industry deal with major clean-up challenges. The bespoke modular machine was developed to enter nuclear cells via a typical 150mm diameter port.
The REACH (Remote Extendable Access, Characterisation and Handling) solution was developed in response to Sellafield’s Game Changers call for technical solutions to aid Post Operational Clean Out (POCO). POCO is the final phase in a nuclear plant’s life before decommissioning.
The REACH demonstration unit consisted of a modular tubular track, a carriage driven by motors and a launching frame. Attached to the carriage was a small camera, which along with the carriage was remotely controlled by a mobile phone app. Moving the carriage along a track, it demonstrated how areas currently very difficult to work in can be accessed simply and effectively.
The track with attached carriage fits through a 150mm (6 inch) diameter cell port and can be assembled easily in a confined space.
The system received positive feedback from Sellafield and has now moved onto the next stage of the Game Changers process to further the design in response to a set of design criteria associated with a specific POCO task.
As well as cameras, the track and carriage could be used to transport other inspection, characterisation and handling tools. Still in the design stage, REACH may help significantly with a range of tasks including measurement of radiation levels, cleaning and cutting operations.
Sarah Wilson, Technical Manager at Sellafield said: “The deployment of monitoring and sampling devices can be challenging during POCO and decommissioning. This is due to highly congested plant areas with limited access points. REACH could provide an opportunity to deploy and retrieve cameras, radiometric devices and sampling equipment in difficult to access areas.”