ADEPT 2.0 System Upgrade at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

A rod-handling system for a hot cell in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Irradiated Fuels Examination Laboratory (IFEL) needed to be replaced after about a decade of use. The statement of work required a platform to be custom-designed for examining full-length fuel rods in the hot cell. The requirements called for two components: An in-cell machine for the handling of the fuel rod and an out-of-cell equipment rack containing the electronic controls and computer systems.

The system needed to fit into the hot cell special envelop; interface with other structures, systems, and components using application software; use as much of the existing mounting platform as possible; meet nuclear quality-control requirements and traceability; and perform in harsh environmental conditions, including cell dose rates of 50 R/hr background and 20,000 R/hr at one-inch from the fuel rods. It needed to be capable of handling — with high precision in a remote environment — a fragile radioactive fuel rod with a fragile coating. The system also needed to be able to accommodate a variety of sizes and lengths of fuel rods and to move those rods in and out of various instruments and diagnostics efficiently, while being entirely remotely maintained.

Framatome designed and built the original equipment and was selected via a competitive bidding process to design and build the replacement equipment, which benefitted from technology developments that had occurred since the original equipment had been designed and built.

In addition to providing a full set of drawings, installation/operation/maintenance manuals, computer models, and a critical spare parts list, Framatome also performed factory acceptance testing (FAT) and site acceptance testing (SAT) of the equipment.