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Keeping an eye on ROV development

While the country was celebrating the first UK Robotics Week, we were trialling some potential new additions to our army of remotely operated vehicles.

A lot of our work at Sellafield is done in places where humans can’t go. Robots and remotely operated machines are a crucial part of delivering our mission.

We took a hands-on role in the first ever UK Robotics Week this year (the event took place on 25 June to 1 July) and before that organised a demonstration in the main site’s testing facility of a new breed of remotely operated vehicles which could potentially be used for future site missions.

The vehicles may look like floating mini cages, but they can be classed as robots in terms of doing work previously done directly by people. A video telling our remotely operated vehicle story is available in the digital issue of the Sellafield Magazine www.sellafieldmagazine.com/meet-nuclear-robots, but the new technology now being explored is potentially a step into a more industrial class of vehicle.

“These machines are already being used in the oil and gas industry, and would be a step up into a whole new level of power and capability,” said our remotely operated vehicle innovation manager, Phil Toomey.

Potential future uses include cleaning skips and walls in the legacy ponds with high-pressure water jets and rotating steel brushes. Other facilities which have never previously used these vehicles are also exploring whether they can be introduced as another pair of ‘hands’ to get the job done.

Potential future uses include cleaning skips and walls in the legacy ponds with high-pressure water jets and rotating steel brushes.