Scheduling of in-Vessel as-Built Measurements by Underwater Laser Scanner during Outages Gains Wider Acceptance from Nuclear Operators

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – Joining in what is becoming an industry-accepted practice as part of the nuclear plant refuel process, the owners of Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station in Scriba, New York, scheduled in-vessel underwater laser scanning to measure several as-built components during the Unit 1 reactor outage in mid-April for the purpose of documenting any cycle-to-cycle changes.

A two-man outage team deployed a NM200UW Nuclear Underwater Laser Scanner, manufactured by Newton Labs of Renton, Washington, to capture sub-millimeter measurements within the Unit 1 steam dryer assembly and the dryer support brackets. The NM200UW system, which had also been used at the plant during a previous outage, produces a dense point cloud output that is used to generate a measurable 3D computer-aided design (CAD) model.

The routine deployment of the NM200UW at Nine Mile Point, as with previous BWR or PWR outages, involved close coordination between the scanner crew, the refuel team and the IVVI crew. The design and flexibility of the scanner system enabled the crew to complete their tasks while working in close proximity to the other teams within the dryer/separator pit (DSP) and over the core, allowing the critical path to be maintained. In addition to the two outages at Nine Mile Point, other recent deployments of the NM200UW system include, among others: Quad Cities Generating Station, Duane Arnold Energy Center and Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station.

During the Nine Mile Point outage the laser scanner was attached to a PT200UW Robotic Pan-Tilt Arm, also by Newton Labs, enabling it to be inserted horizontally into the steam dryer which was located in the DSP adjacent to the core. Next, the scanner and arm assembly, coupled to a 40-foot long pole, was used to scan in-vessel support brackets. The industrially rugged laser scanner and arm both functioned as designed, despite being submerged in radioactive, 110° core water over several days.

The Nine Mile Point Unit 1 vessel, a General Electric boiling water reactor (BWR), is one of the two oldest reactors still in service in the United States, having first gone online in 1969.

About Newton Labs

Seattle based Newton Labs is a privately held manufacturer of machine vision, robotics and optical automation. A spin-off of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( MIT), the company has for more than 20 years developed and marketed high-performance, computer-driven automation for industrial processes. Newton’s products are designed to allow the quality, efficiency and cost effectiveness of computer technology to replace the human element in virtually every industry. Newton Labs has deployed more than 20,000 machine vision, robotic and automation systems worldwide. Additional information about Newton and its products may be found at

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Marshall Butler

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