Solving complex problems through the application of proven engineering capability Engineering services

Vital calibration and tooling capability

Working closely with clients, Rolls-Royce has developed a system that remotely calibrates, tests, stores and exchanges reactor fuel channel inspection and maintenance tooling.

Limited access to the reactor core and complex restrictions to mounting areas demanded a very compact and modular system. Our solution to this problem includes a way to flood and drain a module with D20. It also has a pneumatic system to operate various actuation cylinders remotely. Its design focuses on the need for harsh-environment operations with limited personnel accessibility. Rolls-Royce undertook complete engineering analysis and registration for the piping system and modules.

Rolls-Royce capabilities include:

  • Complete mechanical and electrical system assembly
  • Software development
  • Commissioning
  • Provision of operation and maintenance manuals and installation and operator training

Engineering innovation supporting the next generation of nuclear reactors

Rolls-Royce expertise in nuclear engineering is particularly well displayed in the shape of a remote access vehicle. This is designed to gain access to core elements of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. This aims to form the next generation of nuclear fusion experimental reactor.

One of the enormous technical challenges this project poses is to gain access to the diverter plates in the torus, the core of the reactor. To remove and replace them from time to time during the reactor’s life. These plates are irregular in shape and weigh several tonnes. The only way to achieve this is to design a workable manipulator/heavy-lift vehicle.

The Rolls-Royce solution to this problem is a remote access vehicle that lays down sections of track on which it rides as its transport platform. The vehicle navigates through a service duct by cutting out and removing access doors that weigh eight tonnes. In the torus the vehicle accesses and removes, or relocates the diverter plates. It then reverses its entry procedure, removing track sections, repositioning and re-welding the access doors.

During this work the Rolls-Royce vehicle interfaces with and serves as an operating platform for a variety of tool-heads, manipulators and other devices.

Rolls-Royce has designed and manufactured a full-scale prototype vehicle. This is for use in a mock-up of the reactor torus, to gain proof of principle of the diverter plates’ manipulations requirements.

Designed to handle complex reactor refurbishment

Rolls-Royce technology is at the heart of life-extension refurbishment of CANDU reactors, in which highly irradiated fuel channel components are removed and replaced. The Rolls-Royce remote tool carrier enables hundreds of irradiated and non-irradiated reactor components to be transported. Tools and equipment can also be transported and manipulated between the reactor face and other equipment on the reactor vault floor.

This Rolls-Royce design can be mounted within a shielded enclosure. It traverses up and down the face of the reactor to gain access to all fuel channel sites. The remote tool carrier removes all the highly irradiated channel components from the reactor and transports them to shielding casks on the vault floor.

The control system design includes many operating and safety features. Such as software and hardware interlocks which enables full exploitation of the remote tool carrier’s 1400kg (3000lb) lift capacity and exceptional positional accuracy. Primary and backup modes of operation are employed, with duplicate redundant drives on each axis.

Supporting capabilities:

  • Complete mechanical and electrical system assembly
  • Software Development
  • Production Drawings
  • Fabrication
  • Commissioning
  • Operation and Maintenance Manuals

Highly adaptable and accurate

Rolls-Royce offers a comprehensive range of innovative telescopic arm technology, developed for a diverse range of applications across the nuclear plant.

For example, Rolls-Royce designed, manufactured, and tested a Telescopic Arm and Jet Pump System. The system had two main requirements;

  • provide a means of connecting and disconnecting a process connection to an underground storage tank
  • provide a means of manoeuvering a suction pickup to remove liquid waste from a low area of the tank floor.

Embedded hydraulic cylinders provide muscle for the arm, which fully retracts and folds to get through the tank access riser. Two operating cylinders provide redundant operation for the process connection release system in case one cylinder fails.

Performance testing at Rolls-Royce included simulation of the access port, installation sequence and full deployment of the arm.

Exploiting this technology, Rolls-Royce has also developed a long-reach version of the arm to perform final cleaning of high-level waste tanks. With an extended length of 10m (33ft), the arm can be fitted with various end-effectors. This can handle specific jobs such as low and high-pressure washing and inspection.

Rolls-Royce telescopic arm capabilities include:

  • Engineering analysis
  • Failure analysis
  • Remote control system design
  • Fabrication and assembly
  • Testing
  • On-site operation

For maximum integrity under extremes of pressure

Rolls-Royce custom-designed cable penetration assemblies ensure maximum-integrity access through the walls of reactor containment vaults. This facilitates inspection or maintenance processes using powered or remotely-controlled equipment.

Typically, Rolls-Royce cable penetrations comprise carbon steel or stainless steel weldments with glands through which the access cables pass. Inside these glands, cables are potted in epoxy for sealing and electrical insulation. Dual seals ensure continuous integrity and each potted assembly is helium leak tested before installation.

Rolls-Royce penetration capsules are designed to accommodate power, control, signal, coaxial and fibre optic cables to comply with the conditions specified in IEEE 317.

Termination plates are provided to ease installation and capsule internals are replaceable for future flexibility. As these penetrations are pressure boundary components they can be inserted into existing airlock ports in vault containment walls.