IN-SERVICE INSPECTION OF EXTENDED DRY STORAGE OF SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL, PART I: CRAWLER TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
This paper describes development and demonstration of remote crawling systems to support periodic examinations of interim dry storage system (DSS) canisters for spent nuclear fuel in the USA. Specifically, this work relates to robotic crawler developments for “canister” based DSS systems which form the majority population of DSSs, in the USA, for interim storage of spent nuclear fuel. Consideration of potential degradation of the welded stainless-steel canister in these systems is required for continued usage in the period of extended operation (PEO) beyond their initial licensed or certified terms. Challenges associated with performing the periodic examinations are associated with physical access to the canister surface which is constrained due to narrow annulus spaces between the canister and the overpack, tortuous entry pathways, and high temperatures and radiation doses that can be damaging to materials and electronics. Motivations for performing periodic examinations and developing robotic crawlers for performing those examinations remotely will be presented and several activities to demonstrate robotic crawlers for different DSS systems are summarized.