Korea is developing an underwater cutting training simulator: Waste & Recycling

November 10, 2022

The Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM) has developed a remote virtual dismantling system to teach the use of lasers and plasma to cut the internal components of the underwater reactor vessel (RVI) during the dismantling of nuclear power plants.

The nuclear reactor decommissioning training simulator (Image: KKIM)

KIMM said the simulator allows operators to simulate underwater laser and plasma cutting and operate the equipment under conditions similar to the actual decommissioning environment by “virtualizing the remote nuclear decommissioning system”.

The research team has built a database containing the results of underwater laser and plasma cutting experiments and the numerical analysis of the behavior of the molten pool based on equipment and materials that simulate the environment of underwater cutting by modeling the RVI of unit 1 of the Kori nuclear power plant. The 576 MWe pressurized water reactor was definitively shut down in June 2017, thus becoming the first South Korean reactor to enter dismantling.

In addition, the KIMM team developed a remote cutting simulation algorithm for an underwater robot, and virtualized radiological elements based on dynamic analysis. Researchers also created a physical environment to perform real underwater cutting with the development of an optimal dismantling process scenario in light of the RVI cutting image and radioactivity.

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

The simulator developed by KIMM displays the underwater cutting robot and the cut image that occurs during underwater laser and plasma cutting. It is a simulator which puts into practice a physical phenomenon by considering the virtualization of radiological elements and which allows the remote training of dismantling operators.

“The Busan Center at KIMM hopes to help set up the simulation training facilities for nuclear decommissioning, as the center is located near the Kori nuclear power plant, so that the nuclear decommissioning research institute and our center can cooperate more effectively,” said Jeong Suh, senior researcher at Busan Machinery Research Center of KIMM. “We will lay the foundation for the development of the best remote dismantling system in the world.”

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

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

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

Research and writing by World Nuclear News

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