Document Type


Publication Date



The AFCI program objective is the determination of the feasibility of transmutation as a technology to limit the need for repository storage of spent commercial fuel. The objective if the instant project is the design and evaluation of manufacturing processes for transmuter fuel fabrication. The large-scale deployment of remote fabrication and refabrication processes will be required for all transmutation scenarios. The evaluation of the different fabrication processes is intended to be part of a decision support data base to document design, operations, and costs. Fabrication processes required for different fuel types differ in terms of equipment types, throughput, and cost.

Year 1 of the project was focused on collecting information on existing technologies, equipment costs, and material throughput, as well as on the assessment of robotic technology and robot supervision and control. Project years 2 and 3 were focused on conceptual plant designs, and the detailed simulation of material handling operations using 3D simulation tools with view towards the development of a fully automated and reliable, autonomous manufacturing process. The simulations comprise detailed computations of all forces and interactions between material handling robots and the fuel materials during the manufacturing process. Thus, a thorough understanding of all details of normal operations was gained. Conversely, the simulation model permits the detailed analysis of accident scenarios, and of methods to recover from them. The simulations contain detailed models of robot dynamics, as well as of the inertial dynamics of all moving parts in the manufacturing process. In realistic applications robots must be able to correctly identify and locate all parts they interact with. Vision-based object recognition is a flexible method that can be adapted to multiple hot cell configurations and process scenarios. Therefore we developed a camera based parts recognition system that would identify and locate parts correctly for robotic handling.


Artificial intelligence; Nuclear fuel rods – Design and construction; Manipulators (Mechanism); Robots; Industrial – Control systems; Robots; Industrial – Kinematics – Simulation methods


Nuclear Engineering | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Robotics