Holtec deploys robotic welder

15 June 2020

Holtec International has deployed the first industrial robot developed under a programme it launched in 2019: a portable robotic welder, which is used to weld lids to multi-purpose canisters. Using a robot drastically reduces the dose to the loading crew during such operations.

HI-BRIAN with its principal inventor Brian Farnsworth (Image: Holtec)

Named after its principal inventor, the HI-BRIAN robotic welder hardens the closure weld against vulnerabilities such as stress corrosion cracking by precisely controlling critical parameters, including heat input and travel speed, and providing flexibility to deal with groove geometry variations, Holtec said. The robot makes machine-precision repeatable welds of high integrity while greatly reducing the radiation dose sustained by the loading crew, it added.

Holtec launched its robotics programme to develop special-purpose robots to minimise human factors in high risk tasks in the company's manufacturing and site services activities. The programme is especially important to dry storage and decommissioning projects where minimising radiation dose, reducing heavy load handling operations, the safety of workers, and the protection of public health and safety and the environment are primary objectives, the company said.

Multi-purpose canisters can be used for on-site storage, transport, and permanent disposal of used fuel in a future repository. To date, HI-BRIAN has been used to weld three Holtec MPC-89s canisters at a client site.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News