Remote laser cutting demonstrated

23 August 2021

A mobile laser system developed by a research subsidiary of Russia's Rosatom has been used to remotely cut large metal plant components during a non-nuclear decommissioning process. The laser "can be used to cut metal structures up to 250mm thick, both on land and under water, in the temperature range from -50 to 40 degrees Celsius," said Azamat Bedanokov, deputy director general of the developers, the State Research Centre of the Russian Federation Troitsk Institute for Innovation and Thermonuclear Research (JSC SSC RF Triniti).

The layout of the mobile laser facility (Image: Triniti)

The system was demonstrated for the first time by cutting the metal frames of large components at an industrial facility under going decommissioning in the Karelia region.

The ytterbium laser system fits in a shipping container and needs only two operators. It can be set up as far as 100 metres away from the target object, which Triniti said enables easier dismantling of contaminated or hazardous components. It can be used, "to cut metal and reinforced concrete structures during dismantling and emergency recovery work at gas and oil wells and nuclear power plants, as well as when scrapping ships and submarines, including nuclear powered ones."

"The use of mobile devices for burning a film of spilled oil, decontamination of surfaces by peeling and other purposes has also been proved to be effective," said Triniti. A video on Triniti's website shows how a robotic application of its lasers might be used to remotely cut up a reactor pressure vessel from within.

Triniti is a high energy physics research organisation based in Troitsk, to the south-west of Moscow. As well as laser physics, it describes its main activities as R&D in plasma physics, nuclear fusion and the development of models and codes to predict the behaviour of fuel and elements in nuclear reactors.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News