Autonomous Nuclear Waste Management

J. Aitken, A. Shaukat, E. Cucco, L. Dennis, S. Veres, Y. Gao, M. Fisher, J. Kuo, T. Robinson, P. Mort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Redundant and nonoperational buildings at nuclear sites are decommissioned over a period of time. The process involves demolition of physical infrastructure resulting in large quantities of residual waste material. The resulting waste materials are packed into import containers to be delivered for postprocessing, containing either sealed canisters or assortments of miscellaneous objects. At present postprocessing does not happen within the United Kingdom. Sellafield Ltd. and National Nuclear Laboratory are developing a process for future operation so that upon an initial inspection, imported waste materials undergo two stages of postprocessing before being packed into export containers, namely sort and segregate or sort and disrupt. The postprocessing facility will remotely treat and export a wide range of wastes before downstream encapsulation. Certain wastes require additional treatment, such as disruption, before export to ensure suitability for long-term disposal. This paper focuses on the design, development, and demonstration of a reconfigurable rational agent-based robotic system that aims to highly automate these processes removing the need for close human supervision. The proposed system is being demonstrated through a downsized, lab-based setup incorporating a small-scale robotic arm, a time-of-flight camera, and high-level rational agent-based decision making and control framework.
Original languageUndefined
JournalIEEE Intelligent Systems
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2018

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