Rise of robots in nuclear power highlights conference by NRC, other organizations

The increasing use of robot technology in the nuclear energy field will be the subject of a workshop being held by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and other U.S.-based and international organizations on Feb. 2-to-4 in Gaithersburg, Md.

The “International Workshop on the Use of Robotic Technologies at Nuclear Facilities” will examine topics such as how robots can evaluate plant systems; how robots can locate and recover radioactive material; and, how non-nuclear applications can be adapted to nuclear situations, NRC said in a Jan. 14 news release.

The workshop will include discussion of lessons learned from historic nuclear applications and experiences at sites like Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, Sellafield in England and Fukushima Daiichi in Japan; ongoing research; and other relevant applications such as NASA’s Martian rovers.

In one of the sessions, individuals from Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) and Exelon (NYSE:EXC) will provide an overview of the U.S. commercial nuclear power industry use and experience with robotic technologies. Robotic technology in U.S. commercial plants is used both during normal operation and during refueling and maintenance outages.

The workshop is co-sponsored by groups including Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Nuclear Energy Agency; the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Environmental Management; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, Office of Standards; the United Kingdom’s Atomic Energy Authority; and, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

The American Nuclear Society, ASTM International and IEEE Robotics and Automation Society are also collaborating on the workshop, NRC said.

The workshop begins at 1 p.m. on Feb. 2 at the Green Auditorium on the NIST campus at 100 Bureau Drive in Gaithersburg. Those interested in attending must register and pay $71 to NIST by Jan. 22.

Registration Contact is Myesha Steadman, 301-975-3258 or Myesha.Steadman@nist.gov.


About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.