Korea develops underwater cutting training simulator

10 November 2022

The Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM) has developed a virtual remote dismantling system for use in teaching the use of lasers and plasma to cut underwater reactor vessel internals (RVIs) during the decommissioning of nuclear power plants.

The training simulator for dismantling nuclear reactors (Image: KKIM)

KIMM said the simulator enables operators to simulate underwater laser and plasma cutting and to operate equipment in a condition similar to the actual dismantling environment by "virtualising the remote nuclear dismantling system".

The research team built a database containing the results of underwater laser and plasma cutting experiments and numerical analysis of molten pool behaviour on the basis of the equipment and materials that simulate underwater cutting environment by modeling the RVIs of unit 1 of the Kori nuclear power plant. The 576 MWe pressurised water reactor was permanently shut down in June 2017, becoming the first South Korean reactor to enter decommissioning.

In addition, the KIMM team developed a remote cutting simulation algorithm for an underwater robot, and virtualised radiological elements based on dynamics analysis. The researchers also created a physical environment to perform actual underwater cutting with the development of optimal dismantling process scenario in light of the cutting image of RVIs and radioactivity.

KIMM noted the existing simulator produced in South Korea simulated underwater cutting during nuclear power plant dismantling based on the design of the plant being decommissioned, so it was of limited use in the implementation of physical phenomenon in the event of actual cutting.

The simulator developed by KIMM displays the underwater cutting robot and the cut-out image that occur during the underwater laser and plasma cutting. It is a simulator that implements a physical phenomenon in practice considering the virtualisation of radiological elements and that enables the remote dismantling training of operators.

"Busan Centre in KIMM expects to contribute to establishing the facilities of simulation training for nuclear decommissioning, as the centre is located near the Kori nuclear power plant, so the nuclear decommissioning research institute and our centre can cooperate more effectively," said Jeong Suh, principal researcher at KIMM's Busan Machinery Research Centre. "We will lay the groundwork for the development of the world's best remote dismantling system."

KIMM, founded in 1976, is a non-profit government-funded research institute under the Ministry of Science & ICT.

In September 2017, the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute announced it had signed contracts with several domestic companies to develop technologies for decommissioning Kori 1. These included Kepco Plant Service & Engineering and Doosan, among others, to develop technologies for dismantling facilities and equipment.

In May 2021, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power applied to the Nuclear Safety & Security Commission for approval to dismantle Kori 1.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News