Robot for dismantling graphite reactors (credit: Special Design and Technological Bureau of Applied Robotics)Russia’s Special Design and Technological Bureau of Applied Robotics (SKTB PR) at the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Technopolis Moscow has developed a mobile robotic complex for dismantling the graphite stack of carbon-graphite reactors.

The complex consists of a mobile robot, a remote control and a magazine with a special electric cutting tool. The system makes it possible to remotely undertake dismantling work on carbon-graphite reactors, which were previously widely used at nuclear power plants and are now being decommissioned.

“This development removes the need for the presence of people in the zone with increased radiation. The operator remotely controls the robot, and with the help of the video system, which is part of the complex, directs the work. The robot manipulator is capable of lifting and carrying up to 100kg, which is sufficient to extract the graphite blocks," said Gennady Dyogtev, General Director of SEZ Technopolis Moscow.

Since the end of 2020, the prorotype has been at the Experimental Demonstration Centre of Carbon-Graphite Reactors and is now undergoing trial operation there, he added.

SKTB PR has also created a special stand simulating the graphite stack and the main elements of the reactor's metal structures. The first tests of the robot were carried out at the stand, which confirmed its functionality.

In future, SKTB PR will hand over the stand to the customer. Using the mockup, the operators will be able to work out the most complex dismantling operations and improve their practical skills with the help of a robot.

SKTB PR has close contacts with the nuclear industry. In September 2020, another robotic system was sent to the Leningrad NPP to repair the used nuclear fuel storage pools.

Robot for dismantling graphite reactors (credit: Special Design and Technological Bureau of Applied Robotics)