UK’s fusion is not a snake in the grass!

The UK Atomic Energy Authority has unveiled a ‘robotic snake’ to support fusion energy plants in environments hazardous to humans

Big Zero Report 2022

The progress on the UK’s fusion energy plans is swiftly gaining pace.

The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has announced it has completed trials of a ‘robotic snake’ that could help maintain fusion energy power plants of the future.

Designed to operate inside fusion energy power plant pipework, the technology can operate remotely inside a hazardous environment without being touched by the staff of the station.

It can also work effectively in pipes packed together, with little space for access, the UKAEA has said.

The £2.7 million, seven-year project by UKAEA’s Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE) was delivered as part of EUROfusion’s flagship DEMO programme.

Tristan Tremethick, Lead Mechanical Design Engineer at UKAEA, said: “In fusion machines, pipework has to be connected and disconnected remotely because of the hazardous environment.

“Pipework in DEMO is extra challenging because of the limited working space. We’ve been looking at different ways of tackling this and I’m delighted our new snake has passed its first set of trials.”

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