National Nuclear Laboratory


Sunday 25 May 2014

Changing the Future of Decommissioning with Robotics

In order to help accelerate decommissioning and reduce costs, NNL has set up a project: “Decommissioning: from telerobotics to teleautonomy” To deliver the project, NNL has formed a consortium with Shadow Robot Company, RTS Flexible Systems and RU Robotics. The consortium is 75% funded by the Technology Strategy Board, with the remaining funding coming from NNL’s signature research programme. See diagram below. 

The consortium’s aim is to innovate a route from traditional telerobotics (which requires several highly trained operators to drive and control a single manipulator or custom tooling device) – to an environment where a single operator collaborates with several teleautonomous devices. There is a wide spectrum of robotic related technologies that exist outside the nuclear industry which, if integrated with telerobotics, could deliver the required teleautonomous technology. The objective of the project is to define the robotic technologies that will provide both operations and decommissioning with a step change reduction in cost and timescales. The project will identify and match the needs of the nuclear industry with existing and in-development technologies according to a technology road map that will be formulated during the study. The project will also produce and strategic underpinning rationale for a collaborative national infrastructure to facilitate the transition from telerobotic towards teleautonomous solutions in the UK nuclear industry.