An intelligent underwater assembly system developed by China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) was recently deployed in the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant in South China’s Guangdong province.
An interior view of the system.
The system, developed by a team led by Qiao Sukai, an award-winning CGN engineer, reassembled a group of irradiated components in a pressurized water reactor of the Daya Bay NPP, filling the gap in fuel assembly maintenance systems in operation in China.
The intelligent system enables the assembly of fuel to be completed underwater instead of in an assembly line of a nuclear fuel manufacturing plant.
Thanks to the 10-year efforts of developers from CGN subsidiaries -- China Nuclear Power Operations Co, China Nuclear Power Institute and Daya Bay Nuclear Power Base, the system performs well in safety and reliability. It gives CGN the global lead in the industry and also breaks the monopoly of foreign countries.
Research, determination of safety and feasibility, design of the underwater reloading model, testing of key component localization, research and development of core technology, manufacturing of equipment and testing of the whole system were all conducted by CGN’s own technical platform.
The developers of the intelligent underwater assembly system.
The developers solved more than 20 major technical problems and conducted simulated assembly in both a water-free environment and underwater. They spent two months reassembling the irradiated fuel assembly underwater after the project launched on Feb 13, 2017.
The system can provide a full set of maintenance services for fuel assemblies already in operation in domestic NPPs, which brings great economic benefits as the assemblies can be reloaded into the core after maintenance.