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Technology Factsheet

Camera system for visual inspection of graphite fuel channels

Category: Robotics > Characterization and Inspection > Sensor
Reference # : Model No :

The concept is a radical new design of inspection system, incorporating a conical mirror to provide a full 360 degree circumferential view of the internal bore of a fuel (or control rod) channel 100 mm diameter and 8 m high in a hazardous and highly radioactive environment.

TRL:Demonstration (7-8)
TRL2:Demonstration (7-8)
Tether: *
Waterproof: *
Payload: *
Reach: *
Manipulator: *




The potential option of an array of small cameras each directly side viewing is ruled out by the effect of radiation dose on camera lifetime and image quality.

Trials were carried out with a forward looking camera fitted with a relatively wide angle lens. Whilst a lens can be chosen to provide a full 360 degree view of the channel circumference, tests have shown that its ability to discriminate between cracks and other surface features was poor. A number of other options were considered including a spherical mirror and a cluster of small 45 degree mirrors.

It was then realised that required image could be produced if a 45 degree conical mirror was placed directly in front of the camera. A prototype system was produced and trials carried out with a number of test pieces. A crucial advantage of the conical mirror system over other configurations is that it allows high power lighting to be positioned so that it illuminates the subject whilst being positioned out of the direct line of sight of the camera. The use of individually controllable lamps above, below and on either side of a feature allows excellent discrimination between surface marks and cracks.

Operational Experience:



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