Areva NP has added a new steam generator inspection robot – FORERUNNER – to its nuclear portfolio.

The lightweight robot, which was developed and manufactured by INETEC-Institute for Nuclear Technology, will minimise installation and inspection times by providing improved access to the steam generator tubes.

FORERUNNER is installed and removed with a motorised carriage, engages with the tube and walks out using pneumatically actuated grippers with fail-safe logic.

The robot can easily adapt to different steam generator geometries, and is able to reach more than 200 tubes in a given stance, Areva said.

The entire process is managed remotely, with no human interaction, resulting in a 30% reduction in dose.

FORERUNNER is also able to calculate the optimal path using an intelligent path algorithm, which can cut inspection time by up to half. Multiple robots can also be used in a single channel head, increasing inspection productivity

The robot will be deployed for the first time in the USA in spring 2018, as part of a suite of tools and software used to inspect and repair steam generators.

Photo: FORERUNNER robot