Transmuter Fuel Fabrication: Design and Analysis of Robotic Manufacturing Processes

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The large-scale deployment of remote fabrication and refabrication processes will be a requirement for the implementation of transmutation (Meyer, 2001). Fabrication processes for different fuel types differ in terms of equipment types, throughput, and cost. A comprehensive assessment of the issue is presented in NEA, 2000. Many aspects of manufacturing will be common to both powder-based and metallic fuels manufacturing. These comprise: fuel pin assembly, welding of the cladding tubes, and dimensional inspection of slugs, pellets, and completed fuel pins. The paper describes the design of robot arms, control strategies and end effectors for material handling in a hot cell, such as pellet insertion into fuel rods and fuel rod handling. The dynamics of the robots and the objects handled by them are analyzed in detail using state of the art software tools. In addition to the evaluation and testing of normal assembly operations, the simulation provides for a comprehensive analysis of forces and loads, including those occurring during atypical events such as collisions. The results are to form part of a decision support data base for the selection of the most suitable manufacturing process.


Manufacturing processes; Nuclear fuels – Design and construction; Radioactive wastes — Transmutation; Robots, Industrial


Nuclear | Nuclear Engineering | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Robotics




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