Inuktun Sighting #88: TN Americas Deploys OnSpec Custom Solution for Inspection of Nuclear Waste Storage Units

When TN Americas, an AREVA radioactive waste management and nuclear transportation provider, needed to inspect stainless steel waste storage casks in concrete support structures, they turned to Inuktun for a solution. Regularly operating in the most hazardous areas and confined spaces, Inuktun’s Multi-Mission Modular (IM3™) technology provided the robust OnSpec Custom Solution needed to perform remote visual inspection of the units containing stainless steel canisters storing radioactive waste materials.

The project required consideration for a number of challenges. Not only did the inspection robotic vehicle need to enter the concrete vault modules by maneuvering through a sharp corner roof vent only 30 centimetres (12 inches) high, the vehicle also had to operate in the significant nuclear radiation combined with maximum temperatures of 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit). To complicate matters even further were the stringent optical resolution requirements for the inspection crawler to supply an imaging system capable of resolving AREVA TN’s VT-3 Vision Card (an in-house image resolution test) in complete darkness, all while travelling through the narrowest areas at the bottom of the storage units.

Drawing from a 27-year history of designing, manufacturing and selling remotely operated robotic camera and crawler systems, Inuktun designed an OnSpec Custom Solution vehicle resembling our OnSite Standard Product, the MaggHD™ miniature magnetic crawler. The OnSpec vehicle incorporated a MaggHD™ high definition 360-degree continuous tilt camera head, Microtrac™ crawler tracks and a narrow customized chassis with a camera raise function for lowering the camera head for deployment and raising to have a clear view forward and behind. The VT-3 compliant crawler used two wide angle flood lights and two narrow beam LED spot lights to provide the illumination required in the completely dark environment.

Big functionality in a small package, the final result of the heavy-duty robotic inspection crawler, with a fully integrated bespoke InfraRed (IR) temperature sensor, effectively performed the remote inspection needed of the radioactive waste storage containers.

While most of our OnSite Standard Products and OnDemand Specialty Systems are well suited for the inhospitable nuclear environments, sometimes an OnSpec Custom Solution may be required for atypical conditions. Contact our team to learn about the best remote visual inspection and nondestructive testing solutions for your operations today.

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