Nuclear Robotics

In 1995-1999 at the start of my career, I worked in Remote Operations for Magnox electric/ BNFL Magnox generation as a Mechanical Engineer.

I don’t have any photos, because it was before digital cameras, I do have this cheesy marker rendering of one of the simpler machines.

This was a machine to cut a graphite sample from the core of a Magnox Nuclear Power station. It was lowered 20m from the pile cap down to the reactor core by the black umbilical at the top. At the bottom was a camera and 4 red LEDs – that was pretty fancy tech in the 90s. On the side there are 5 round feet that pneumatically pop out to lock it in place, then the sampling tool (middle right) would swing out to cut a sample.

I also worked on a load of remotely operated pan and tilt inspection cameras and a wild idea for some clip together insulation panels that were also each remotely operated vehicles with magnetic wheels that would drive around the outside of the steel reactor pressure vessel.