(FT/P2-18) Development and Operation of an ITER relevant Inspection Robot

M.H. Houry1), L. Gargiulo1), P. Bayetti1), V. Bruno1), J.-J. Cordier1), J.-P. Friconneau2), J.-C. Hatchressian1), D. Keller2), R. Le1), Y. Measson2), Y. Perrot2), F. Samaille1)
1) CEA, IRFM, F-13108 Saint-Paul-Lez-Durance, France
2) CEA, LIST, Service de Robotique Interactive, F-92265 Fontenay-aux-Roses, France

Abstract.  Robotics and remote operations are one of the main challenges for ITER and future fusion reactors; in particular, first wall inspection and treatment in between pulse could be required for better Tokamak exploitation and for safety purpose. Since 2002, CEA laboratories have started developments to demonstrate the feasibility and reliability of a light ITER relevant inspection robot. A multipurpose carrier was manufactured with the aim to be deployed in the plasma vessel of a tokamak without breaking the Ultra High Vacuum and temperature conditioning. The robot called Articulated Inspection Arm (AIA) is an 8 meter long multi link carrier with 5 modules of 160 mm diameter. With a payload of up to 10 kg, the poly-articulated arm total weight is about 150 kg and can be introduced through a remarkably small port of 250 mm diameter. A fatigue test at atmospheric pressure and under representative loading was conducted in 2005 to qualify the module concepts. Vacuum and temperature tests campaign on the first prototype module was also carried out in 2006 and 2007. Particularly, cycles of motion and temperature were performed during several weeks; 120oC during operating and 200oC for outgassing phase. The first diagnostic built to be plugged at the front head of the carrier is the viewing system able to make accurate visual inspection of Plasma Facing Components under darkness conditions. In September 2007, after an integration phase and command control devising, the robot with its vision diagnostic plugged in has realized its first complete deployments inside Tore Supra's plasma vessel under atmospheric conditions. To complete the demonstration, deployments and operations of the AIA robot will be performed in the plasma vessel of Tore Supra under ITER relevant conditions (10-6 Pa and 120oC) in the first semester of 2008. In parallel, new tools are being developed by CEA, which will be connected to the robot for tokamak in-vessel components diagnostic: a leak detection system and a laser compact system for carbon co-deposited layers characterizations or treatments. Besides bringing a relevant proof of principle, lessons learned on Tore Supra with such a multipurpose robotic device will give very helpful information for future ITER remote handling activities.

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