This year's conference had roughly the same number of people as last year although the mix was slightly different. Canada is featured country so had more attendees than normal. The UK and Germany had less, while the other countries remained about the same or were slightly down.
The conference opened with the usual plenary session that had a number of senior people talk about waste management and the issues facing the industry in 2019 and beyond. There were several speakers; Rumina Velshi (CNSC), Congressman Mike Simpson (Rep, Idaho), Terry Hagen (Jacobs) and Anne White, Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management (EM-1), US DOE EM.
The morning had a large number of sessions and I chose to attend "Robotics and Remote Systems in D&D and the Nuclear Industry". Luisa Bucher (Wälischmiller) explained their gripper design for remote handling of drums. NuVision, who we have worked with a lot in the past, were part of this project. Siri Maley (CMU) talked about RadPiper - robotic Inspection and automated analysis system for assay of gas diffusion piping which is an impressive piece of technology working very successfully it seems. Finally, Walter Quintero (FIU) explained about KMIT. Its objective is to prevent the loss of D&D knowledge and it contains various DOE reports, papers and documents plus links to other DOE website. It also contains a small technology database; the structure and robotics content was based on our earlier work for the DOE. Our Idea Catalog is designed for identifying potential technologies from nuclear and non-nuclear industries rather than knowledge management per se, although it does have a considerable number of case studies of nuclear technology implementation from across the world including the DOE.
The conference has a sit down lunch but I had some meetings to attend instead. We are working on aging infrastructure management and it is always good to to meet people face to face.
The afternoon has many sessions. I chose the one on "Nuclear and Industrial Robotics, Remote Systems and Emerging Technology". Richard Garcia (SWRI) talked about the impact of radiation on cameras, how it can affect robotic perception and sort of algorithms they were using to correct image quality. Mitch King (CNL) talked about remote collection of waste at Chalk River using small "hobby-grade" excavators with vacuum adaptation to remove solid material from tanks. Finally, Chris Graham (Fluor) presented on remote retrieval of calcine waste at Idaho. We ran the workshop that gave rise to a number of new ideas for retrieval so it was great to see how the concepts are being developed.
Paula attended the panel session on the featured country, Canada plus the technical session on "Application of Innovative D&D Technologies Including Application of Virtual Reality". One of them was by Richard Reid (EPRI) who presented on the work they were doing on enhanced techniques for concrete decontamination; nitrogen blasting and laser scabbling appeared to be the most favourable for their circumstances. She also attended the presentation by Laura Hermann (PCG) on "Scientists and Reporters Can be Friends". Laura attended our workshop on Near Surface Disposal just before Christmas and is an inspirational speaker. Today's was no exception and she coped admirably with conference IT failure.
After a few sidebar meetings, the evening reception occurred at 5 pm and is a chance to meet people over food and drinks. This was hosted by the featured country - Canada.
Tomorrow is another packed day and I will try and write another blog on the presentations and things going on.