Through the aid of a new robot known as CHARLI*, AREVA has performed for its customer EDF laser cutting operations in the reactor vessel of the Superphénix fast neutron reactor that is currently being dismantled at Creys-Malville in France. Both the use of CHARLI and the cutting operations, performed in an environment for the extraction of sodium from a reactor, are world firsts.
CHARLI is a small remote-operated vehicle (ROV) that is equipped with a robotic arm fitted with a laser cutting head and multiple vision cameras. It has been specially designed to move around inside confined pipework structures and to withstand very harsh environments with high levels of radiation and temperatures, as well as the presence of sodium, aerosols, and argon.
AREVA offers customers a comprehensive range of advanced solutions in the field of nuclear decommissioning (decontamination, waste management, logistics, storage, and processing of used fuel). CHARLI is an illustration of this expertise unique in the nuclear market.
* CHARLI is a concatenation of two French abbreviations: “CHAR” referring to the remote operated vehicle used for the cutting and “LIposo” referring to the interconnection piping between the primary pumps and the base frame that supported the fuel assemblies.