A robot designed by Canada’s MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) has been used to inspect critical components inside the Calandria Vault at Pickering A.

The robot designed especially for plant operator Ontario Power Generation (OPG), allowed the first close-up look at carbon steel components and structural welds deep within the concrete walls of the reactor.

The robot, which is controlled remotely from a workstation, has been designed to enter the radioactive chamber through a very small opening. The 14-metre robotic arm can navigate through obstacles within the four-story reactor in a very controlled and precise manner to check for possible corrosion and degradation. Radiation resistant cameras provided 360° views and high-resolution images of the suspect parts at multiple inspection sites.

The robot was first used during a May/June outage. OPG will now have the ability to conduct inspections if required in the future.

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