University of Bristol researchers have successfully tested an underwater inspection platform for use in nuclear waste legacy ponds as part of a RAIN Hub project for Sellafield Ltd.
Dr Dave Megson-Smith won an award for this work at the recent RAIN Hub Big Meet research poster competition.
Sellafield legacy ponds were originally intended for the short-term storage of nuclear waste. However, decay and corrosion of the stored waste products has resulted in a complex chemical environment within the ponds.
To aid in the analysis of these environments, we incorporated our remote inspection Raman system into a waterproof enclosure and attached it to a BlueRobotics® BlueROV2. This newly developed Raman Inspection Platform is capable of analysing environments at depths of up to 100m.
Figure 1: (Top Left) Close up image of the Raman Inspection Platform. (Top Right) Raman Inspection Platform analysing the white paint of a metal casing. (Bottom) Raman spectra obtain from the analyse of the metal case. This Raman spectra corresponded to that of titanium oxide which is routinely found in white paint.
The Raman Inspection Platform recently was deployed in a controlled environment to assess its functionality. We successfully obtained results from a range of different materials including paints, plastics, coatings and iron oxide.
About RAIN Hub
The Robotics and AI in nuclear (RAIN) initiative has been created to address these issues by developing the advanced robotics and artificial intelligence that will be essential for future nuclear operations. Their adoption will have the potential to completely transform the nuclear industry globally.
The programme’s overall objectives are to lower costs within the nuclear industry, reduce timescales, reduce risk, improve safety, promote remote inspection and reduce the chances of human exposure to radiation and other hazards.
Once developed, the technologies that will help to realise these objectives are to form the foundation of a world-leading robotic and AI research and innovation ecosystem.