Inspection of nuclear intermediate level waste LW packaging and assets in situ

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2023
Thesis identifier
  • T16632
Person Identifier (Local)
  • 201874523
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • The UK generates 15 % of its annual electric energy from nuclear power plants, and half of the nuclear power plants in the UK are expected to be retired by the year 2025 [1]. Physical containment of all Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) produced by the decommissioning processes are cement-encapsulated and enclosed in corrosion resistant waste containers stored in above ground interim storage vaults until they are deemed safe for geological disposal [2]. The current Generic Waste Package Specification (GWPS) calls for a target total container lifetime of 500 years [3]. To ensure that the containers’ structural integrity remains within safe conditions during its time in operation, regular Condition Monitoring, and Inspection (CM&I) is required. This is challenged by the large quantity [4] and tight storage arrangement of the ILW vaults [5]. To overcome these challenges and cost associated with removing the ILW containers for regular inspection, this project proposes robotic inspection systems that can inspect 500 L ILW drums while in-situ using non-contact sensors deployed by mobile robotic system. The robotic systems are designed to operate in legacy vaults environments without modifying the vaults or the containers or their arrangement. The theoretical assessment of CM&I sensors indicates that only less than 42% of the facets of interest can inspected using direct line of sight sensors. The sensors and techniques used to inspect and monitor the containers proposed, should allow the operators to inspect the drums’ structural changes and degradation using the sensor fusion of data from laser scanner, photogrammetry and non-contact air coupled ultrasonics. This should provide a screening tool to identify damaged ILW drums’ structures and provide a starting point to create digital twins of the individual drums for long term damage prediction and end of service life estimation.
Advisor / supervisor
  • MacLeod, Charles
Resource Type