Refueling Machines Patents (Class 376/268)
  • Patent number: 11273574
    Abstract: A scalable three dimensional printing apparatus capable of movement along three axes includes a tractor assembly movable along a selectively extendable rail component. Wheels in the tractor assembly surround part of the rail component to enable movement of a gantry bridge in a longitudinal direction along the rails. A movable printing trolley moves horizontally along a gantry bridge and has a printing column which can move vertically. Because the gantry bridge, trolley, and printing column move orthogonally to each other, users may print in three dimensions. Selective extension of the rails allows a user to alter lengthwise printing scale.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 29, 2016
    Date of Patent: March 15, 2022
    Assignee: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AS REPRESENTED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY
    Inventors: Megan A Kreiger, Michael Patrick Case, Gerald R. Northrup, Ghassan Al-Chaar, Bruce A MacAllister, William Jacob Wagner
  • Patent number: 11257601
    Abstract: A nuclear facility has a fuel pool containing a liquid and an associated cooling circuit for a circulating cooling agent. The cooling circuit contains a cooling module with a first heat exchanger which immerges into the liquid, a second heat exchanger which is located outside the fuel pool, and connecting lines between the first exchanger and the second heat exchanger. In order to provide for reliable cooling even if a filling level drops, the cooling module contains a lifting body and floats in the liquid such that its altitude varies with the filling level of the liquid in the fuel pool.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 16, 2019
    Date of Patent: February 22, 2022
    Assignee: Framatome GmbH
    Inventors: Thomas Fuchs, Kerstin Gauter
  • Patent number: 11075017
    Abstract: The modular lower moving system for nuclear fuel handling includes: a lower reactor vessel assembly including nuclear fuel loaded therein; a carrier having a space allowing the lower reactor vessel assembly to be accommodated therein; a rail extending from a reactor area to a fuel handling area; a transfer cart horizontally movable along the rail; a lifting device installed at the transfer cart, movable upward or downward with respect to the transfer cart; and a drive device configured to supply power to the transfer cart and the lifting device. The method of refueling nuclear fuel using the modular lower moving system includes a carrier lifting process, a lower reactor vessel assembly detachment process, a process of accommodating the lower reactor vessel assembly in the carrier, a carrier lowering process, a transfer cart movement process, a nuclear fuel offloading process, and a nuclear fuel loading process.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 26, 2018
    Date of Patent: July 27, 2021
    Assignee: KEPCO ENGINEERING & CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC.
    Inventors: Kwang Jeok Ko, Ho Jung Lee, Min Gyu Kim, Yeon Ho Cho, Hyun Min Kim
  • Patent number: 10967988
    Abstract: The machinery system comprises an arm having an upper fixing device arranged to fix to the arm at least one upper module to be manipulated in an upper plane and a lower fixing device arranged to fix to the arm at least one lower module to be manipulated in a lower plane; a first securing device of the arm configured to control the positioning of the arm; the arm being mounted cantilever-fashion on the first securing device. The machinery system makes it possible to at least halve the manipulation time for two modules by virtue of the arm mounted cantilever-fashion, to which two modules can be fixed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 2018
    Date of Patent: April 6, 2021
    Assignee: AIRBUS SAS
    Inventors: Jean-Mickael Brindeau, André Aquila
  • Patent number: 10870558
    Abstract: Load control apparatuses, systems and methods to control a location, orientation, or rotation of a suspended load by imparting thrust vectors to the suspended load or to a structure that holds the load. The load control apparatuses, systems and method may be integrated into a structure that holds a load, such as a rescue litter. The load control apparatuses, systems, and methods may be modular. The modular load control apparatuses, systems, and methods may be secured to a load or to a structure that holds the load.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 11, 2020
    Date of Patent: December 22, 2020
    Assignee: Vita Inclinata Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Derek Sikora, Caleb B. Carr, Adam L. K. Philipp
  • Patent number: 9922733
    Abstract: Illustrative embodiments provide methods and systems for migrating fuel assemblies in a nuclear fission reactor, methods of operating a nuclear fission traveling wave reactor, methods of controlling a nuclear fission traveling wave reactor, systems for controlling a nuclear fission traveling wave reactor, computer software program products for controlling a nuclear fission traveling wave reactor, and nuclear fission traveling wave reactors with systems for migrating fuel assemblies.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 25, 2010
    Date of Patent: March 20, 2018
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Ehud Greenspan, Roderick A. Hyde, Robert C. Petroski, Joshua C. Walter, Thomas Allan Weaver, Charles Whitmer, Lowell L. Wood, Jr., George B. Zimmerman
  • Patent number: 9318227
    Abstract: A lifting fixture for removing the upper internals from a nuclear reactor to provide access to the core during a refueling that does not require flooding of a refueling canal. A shield plate is integral to a lifting rig used to remove the upper internals. The shield plate is sized to be supported on the reactor vessel upper flange and to cover the reactor vessel opening with the closure head removed. The shield plate has openings that are in-line with the control rod assembly drive rod travel housings. Control rod assembly drive rods can be accessed through the openings. The lifting rig allows personnel to decouple the drive rods from the rod cluster control assemblies. The lifting fixture enables the decoupled drive rods to be lifted from the core with the upper internals while shielding maintenance personnel without use of flooding the area above the reactor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 15, 2013
    Date of Patent: April 19, 2016
    Assignee: Westinghouse Electric Company LLC
    Inventor: Alexander W. Harkness
  • Patent number: 8917808
    Abstract: The invention refers to a device and a method for handling a fuel assembly (3), which comprises a number of fuel rods extending between a lower part and an upper part of the fuel assembly, a debris filter located in the lower part of the fuel assembly and a casing surrounding the fuel rods. The device comprises a lifting device (15) for engaging, during a lifting operation, a fuel assembly located in a reactor vessel (1) and lifting the fuel assembly upwards and out from the reactor vessel. A conduit member is connected to the upper part of the fuel assembly. A pump (32) creates a flow of water through the conduit member and the fuel assembly during the lifting operation. The flow has such a size that possible debris particles contained in and/or immediately beneath the debris filter at least are retained in and/or immediately beneath the debris filter during the lifting operation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 21, 2007
    Date of Patent: December 23, 2014
    Assignee: Westinghouse Electric Sweden AB
    Inventor: Sture Helmersson
  • Patent number: 8908821
    Abstract: A storage container is carried into a nuclear-reactor containment, and then, the core structure is housed in the storage container. In this process, a bottom cover is carried to a storage-container body by using a moving device. The storage-container body and the bottom cover are positioned by adjusting the position of the bottom cover on the moving device while the bottom cover is supported by free bearings. The bottom cover is then attached to the storage-container body.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 8, 2006
    Date of Patent: December 9, 2014
    Assignee: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
    Inventors: Hiroki Nasu, Yoshio Kitaoka, Akinori Takei
  • Patent number: 8804895
    Abstract: The invention concerns a cask for a canister containing radioactive material, comprising a canister extraction assembly and designed so that it can bring the canister to an extraction position inside the cask housing in which this canister is free of any contact with the inner surface. Also, one of two elements from among a carriage and a support structure of the assembly is provided with a guide ramp cooperating with a ramp follower provided on the other of the two elements, the ramp being designed so that a relative translational movement between the carriage and the structure, in the longitudinal direction of the cask, causes the changeover of the two elements from a drawn-together position to a drawn-apart position, or conversely.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 9, 2006
    Date of Patent: August 12, 2014
    Assignee: TN International
    Inventors: Jean-Pierre Bersegol, Justo Garcia
  • Patent number: 8792606
    Abstract: The present invention is principally a device for transferring a nuclear fuel canister between a container for transporting said canister and a device for storing said canister. The transfer device comprises a body and a slide of longitudinal axis, capable of sliding in said body along its longitudinal axis (Y), said slide comprising at least a first compartment (C1), for removing a plug from the transport container and a plug from the storage device, and a second compartment (C3) for allowing the canister to pass from the transport container to the storage device and, conversely, means for sealing the transfer between the transport container and a transfer device and between the transfer device and the storage device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 30, 2007
    Date of Patent: July 29, 2014
    Assignee: Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique
    Inventor: Jean-Claude Argoud
  • Publication number: 20140198889
    Abstract: A nuclear component transfer device that incorporates a shielded canister into the mast design of a conventional nuclear refueling machine. A moveable mast telescopes within a stationary mast which is attached to a bridge for lateral positioning. The canister allows for the addition of shielding that is positioned with the movement of the moveable mast without additional motorized components to deploy the shielding during nuclear component movement. The nuclear component is drawn up into the shielded canister as the moveable mast lifts the nuclear component. The nuclear component is then placed into a transfer cart that is also fitted with a shielded canister. The transfer is made without exposing the nuclear components resulting in completely shield movement.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 15, 2013
    Publication date: July 17, 2014
    Applicant: WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC COMPANY LLC
    Inventor: Alexander W. Harkness
  • Publication number: 20140198890
    Abstract: A lifting fixture for removing the upper internals from a reactor to provide access to the core for refueling that does not require flooding of a refueling canal. The invention provides a means of shielding and ventilation that is integral to a lifting rig used to remove the upper internals. The lifting rig provides a means for personnel to decouple the drive rods from the rod cluster control assemblies so the drive rods can be lifted from the core with the upper internals while shielding maintenance personnel without flooding the area above the reactor.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 15, 2013
    Publication date: July 17, 2014
    Applicant: WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC COMPANY LLC
    Inventor: Alexander W. Harkness
  • Publication number: 20140198891
    Abstract: Apparatus and a method for retracting in-core instrument thimble tubes from the reactor core prior to refueling a nuclear reactor with top mounted instrumentation. The apparatus includes a penetration flange interposed between the head flange and the reactor vessel flange through which the instrumentation cabling passes. The penetration flange is connected to the upper internals and can be raised relative thereto to retract instrumentation thimbles from the core prior to removal of the upper internals from the reactor vessel for refueling. The penetration flange is removed from the vessel with the upper internals.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 16, 2013
    Publication date: July 17, 2014
    Applicant: WESTNGHOUSE ELECTRIC COMPANY LLC
    Inventor: ALEXANDER W. HARKNESS
  • Patent number: 8666016
    Abstract: A fuel exchange apparatus, comprising: a traveling carriage moving horizontally in one direction; a traversing carriage moving horizontally on the traveling carriage in a direction orthogonal to the one direction in which the traveling carriage moves; and a fuel holding unit attached to the traversing carriage, and including an telescopic tube enabling to extend and contract, a holding tool for holding a fuel assembly and releasing the held fuel assembly, and a lifter for raising and lowering the holding tool by winding and running out linear members for suspending and supporting the holding tool from the traversing carriage, wherein the holding tool is selectively placed in a constrained state in which the holding tool is subject to a constraint by the telescopic tube and in a freely suspended state in which the holding tool is released from the constraint by the telescopic tube and freely suspended by the linear members.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 7, 2007
    Date of Patent: March 4, 2014
    Assignee: Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, Ltd.
    Inventors: Yutaka Arai, Yuji Hosoda, Ryoji Azumaishi, Yutaka Kometani, Kunihiko Iwama
  • Publication number: 20140023171
    Abstract: A fuel exchange apparatus, comprising: a traveling carriage moving horizontally in one direction; a traversing carriage moving horizontally on the traveling carriage in a direction orthogonal to the one direction in which the traveling carriage moves; and a fuel holding unit attached to the traversing carriage, and including an telescopic tube enabling to extend and contract, a holding tool for holding a fuel assembly and releasing the held fuel assembly, and a lifter for raising and lowering the holding tool by winding and running out linear members for suspending and supporting the holding tool from the traversing carriage, wherein the holding tool is selectively placed in a constrained state in which the holding tool is subject to a constraint by the telescopic tube and in a freely suspended state in which the holding tool is released from the constraint by the telescopic tube and freely suspended by the linear members.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 7, 2007
    Publication date: January 23, 2014
    Inventors: Yutaka Arai, Yuji Hosoda, Ryoji Azumaishi, Yutaka Kometani, Kunihiko Iwama
  • Publication number: 20130294565
    Abstract: A method of refueling a nuclear reactor that includes the steps of removing the reactor vessel head and upper internals to a storage location and installing a cylindrical tank having open upper and lower ends, on the reactor vessel flange. The cylindrical tank is sealed to the reactor vessel and a penetration on the side of the cylindrical tank is sealed to a refueling canal that is connected to a spent fuel pool. The level of reactor coolant within the reactor vessel is then raised to at least partially fill the cylindrical tank to a level equal to that of the spent fuel pool. The refueling canal is then opened and a refueling machine supported on the reactor vessel is employed to transfer fuel assemblies between the core and the spent fuel pool.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 2, 2012
    Publication date: November 7, 2013
    Applicant: WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC COMPANY LLC
    Inventors: Alexander W. Harkness, William Edward Cummins
  • Patent number: 8542791
    Abstract: A refueling apparatus for charging nuclear fuel in a reactor vessel, the refueling apparatus including: a refueling unit loading new nuclear fuel to a core or extracting spent nuclear fuel from the core; and a waveguide sensor unit including an ultrasonic wedge to form a Lamb wave, a waveguide with an end connected to the ultrasonic wedge and with another end transmitting the Lamb wave into the reactor vessel, and an ultrasonic sensor connected to the ultrasonic wedge and sensing a reflection signal reflected from an inside of the reactor vessel, the waveguide being formed in a plate shape and mounted in an end of the refueling unit. The waveguide integrally moves with the refueling unit, and the waveguide sensor unit detects a condition of the inside of the reactor vessel, while the refueling unit refuels the fuel assembly in the reactor vessel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 12, 2008
    Date of Patent: September 24, 2013
    Assignees: Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Young-Sang Joo, Chang-Gyu Park, Seok-Hoon Kim, Gyeong-Hoi Koo, Jae-Han Lee
  • Patent number: 8411813
    Abstract: A method for carrying out a reactor internal, comprising steps of: forming a first opening portion in a ceiling of a reactor building at a position directly above an equipment pool in said reactor building; cutting a cylindrical reactor internal surrounding a core in a reactor pressure vessel disposed in said reactor building, at one position in an axial direction; surrounding said cut cylindrical reactor internal with a radiation shield; and carrying out said cylindrical reactor internal surrounded by said radiation shield out of said reactor building through said first opening portion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 30, 2009
    Date of Patent: April 2, 2013
    Assignee: Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, Ltd.
    Inventor: Masataka Aoki
  • Patent number: 8396182
    Abstract: A method to capture, retain and remove debris falling into a nuclear reactor fuel bundle assembly including a bundle of fuel rods mounted below an upper tie plate and housed in a hollow metal channel, the method includes: inserting a debris shield in the upper tie plate; maintaining the shield in the upper tie plate and above the fuel rods, and water rods, while the fuel bundle assembly is in an operating nuclear reactor core; capturing debris falling in the fuel assembly on the debris shield; after capturing the debris, removing the fuel bundle assembly with the inserted debris shield from the nuclear reactor core to a maintenance/fuel inspection pool and thereafter removing the debris shield from the upper tie plate, cleaning and then reinserting the cleaned debris shield back into the upper tie plate, and moving the fuel bundle assembly from the maintenance/fuel inspection pool back into the nuclear reactor core.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 26, 2008
    Date of Patent: March 12, 2013
    Assignee: Global Nuclear Fuel—Americas, LLC
    Inventors: David Smith, Michael DeFilippis, Gerald A. Luciano, Michael Kiernan, Carlton Clark, Andrew K. Langston
  • Patent number: 8355481
    Abstract: Provided is a sliding support and a system using the sliding support unit. The sliding support unit may include a fulcrum capture configured to attach to a support flange, a fulcrum support configured to attach to the fulcrum capture, and a baseplate block configured to support the fulcrum support. The system using the sliding support unit may include a pressure vessel, a pedestal bracket, and a plurality of sliding support units.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 14, 2009
    Date of Patent: January 15, 2013
    Assignee: GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas LLC
    Inventors: Michael R. Breach, David J. Keck, Gerald A. Deaver
  • Patent number: 8254516
    Abstract: An outer filter removal tool for a boiling water reactor control rod drive that uses a mechanical advantage obtained through the use of lead screw threads to pull the outer filter off of the control rod drive. Fingers on the tool are closed around the upper flange of the outer filter by sliding a collar over the outwardly biased fingers. A shaft extending through the tool is rotated which in turn extends a push plate against the control rod drive index tube causing the fingers to pull against the upper flange on the outer filter until the filter is freed from the control rod drive. The tool will hold the filter in place until affirmatively released for proper disposal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 22, 2009
    Date of Patent: August 28, 2012
    Assignee: Westinghouse Electric Company LLC
    Inventors: David P. Ketcham, Stafford L. Turner, Robert T. Fells
  • Patent number: 8143592
    Abstract: Systems, devices, and methods for filling containers with radioactive materials are described. In certain embodiments, the systems comprise a shielding material that substantially defines a chamber and, preferably, substantially blocks radioactivity, a conduit extending through the shielding material into the chamber, and a securing unit that is disposed in the chamber proximal to the conduit and is adapted to receive a container through the conduit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 29, 2010
    Date of Patent: March 27, 2012
    Assignee: DRAXIMAGE General Partnership
    Inventor: Daniel Tartaglia
  • Patent number: 8139706
    Abstract: A method of loading nuclear fuel assemblies into a fuel rack in an underwater (or other submerged) environment that reduces the depth required for the pool to effectuate the fuel rack loading procedure. In one embodiment, the method comprises submerging a nuclear fuel assembly having an axis and a horizontal cross-section in a pool; providing a fuel rack in the pool, the fuel rack comprising a body structure comprising at least one elongated cell, a top, a bottom, a first lateral side, at least one elongated slot in the first lateral side that forms a lateral passageway into the cell; positioning the fuel assembly laterally adjacent to the elongated slot of the fuel rack so that the axis of the fuel assembly is substantially aligned with the elongated slot; and translating the fuel assembly in a lateral direction through the elongated slot and into the cell.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 31, 2010
    Date of Patent: March 20, 2012
    Inventors: Krishna P. Singh, Evan Rosenbaum
  • Publication number: 20110293059
    Abstract: Disclosed embodiments include nuclear fission reactors, nuclear fission fuel pins, methods of operating a nuclear fission reactor, methods of fueling a nuclear fission reactor, and methods of fabricating a nuclear fission fuel pin.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 25, 2010
    Publication date: December 1, 2011
    Inventors: Roderick A. Hyde, Jon D. McWhirter
  • Patent number: 8050378
    Abstract: In a spent fuel pool of a nuclear power plant, there is provided a system for aligning a nuclear fuel bundle and handling selected fuel rods within the fuel bundle. The bundle includes water rods, full-length and part-length fuel rods extending through a plurality of fuel spacers provided between top and bottom ends of the bundle, each spacer having a plurality of cells accommodating corresponding fuel and water rods. The system includes a bundle alignment system for aligning the fuel rods and water rods, a rod grapple tool to extract selected part-length rods from the bundle, and a fuel rod guide block slidable onto the top end of the bundle for protecting an uppermost fuel spacer of the bundle, and for aligning fuel rods within individual cells of all the fuel spacers in the fuel bundle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 25, 2010
    Date of Patent: November 1, 2011
    Assignee: General Electric Company
    Inventors: David P. Ketcham, Vernon John Fullerton, David Grey Smith, Rex Gormen Robinson, Gerald A. Luciano
  • Publication number: 20110243293
    Abstract: Systems and methods for servicing a fuel assembly in a light water reactor include those for controlling flow through a fuel assembly to maintain debris in the fuel assembly during removal and transportation of the fuel assembly, those for discharging debris from the fuel assembly, and those for isolating and sampling the water chemistry of a fuel assembly. An exemplary system includes a closure device configured to seal a mast to a fuel assembly to surround the upper opening of the fuel assembly and provide a flow control channel between a void in the mast and a lower opening in a lower tie plate.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 31, 2010
    Publication date: October 6, 2011
    Inventors: Peter Ray Diller, David Grey Smith, Michael T. Kiernan, Gerald A. Luciano, Colin F. Kelemen
  • Patent number: 7995700
    Abstract: A rear door system for transferring hot cell equipment into or out of a hot cell is disclosed. The rear door system of the present invention includes a rear door, which is provided to a rear wall of the hot cell so as to be movable to open or close the rear wall of the hot cell, and a vertical moving table, which is provided at a predetermined position on the lower portion of the front surface of the rear door so as to be movable upwards or downwards. The rear door system further includes a drive unit, which is provided at a predetermined position in the lower end of the rear door to move the rear door, and a stationary working table, which is disposed above the vertical moving table and is fixed in the hot cell in a horizontal orientation. The rear door system further includes a removable table, which is removably coupled at a predetermined position to the stationary working table, and a hot cell crane hook and a service area crane hook, which are respectively provided inside and outside the hot cell.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 27, 2007
    Date of Patent: August 9, 2011
    Assignees: Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Eun Pyo Lee, Gil Sung You, Ji Sup Yoon, Won Myung Choung, Jeong Hoe Ku, Il Je Cho, Dong Hak Kook, Kie Chan Kwon, Won Kyung Lee
  • Patent number: 7986760
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for the permissive control of a mast and fuel grapple to be used in the movement of reactor fuel components, including fuel assemblies, single blade and double blade guides, to be used in a Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) nuclear reactor. The Permissive Control System reduces the chance of human error associated with the movement of reactor components by assisting in controlling the location (plant coordinate) of the mast for picking-up and dropping-off reactor components, the sequence of reactor component movements, the orientation (angular rotation) of the mast and fuel grapple, the raising and lowering of the grapple, and the opening and closing of the fuel grapple.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 15, 2007
    Date of Patent: July 26, 2011
    Assignee: GE-Hitachi Nuclear Emergy Americas, LLC
    Inventor: Michael Johnson
  • Publication number: 20100232564
    Abstract: In a spent fuel pool of a nuclear power plant, there is provided a system for aligning a nuclear fuel bundle and handling selected fuel rods within the fuel bundle. The bundle includes water rods, full-length and part-length fuel rods extending through a plurality of fuel spacers provided between top and bottom ends of the bundle, each spacer having a plurality of cells accommodating corresponding fuel and water rods. The system includes a bundle alignment system for aligning the fuel rods and water rods, a rod grapple tool to extract selected part-length rods from the bundle, and a fuel rod guide block slidable onto the top end of the bundle for protecting an uppermost fuel spacer of the bundle, and for aligning fuel rods within individual cells of all the fuel spacers in the fuel bundle.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 25, 2010
    Publication date: September 16, 2010
    Inventors: David P. Ketcham, Vernon John Fullerton, David Grey Smith, Rex Gormen Robinson, Gerald A. Luciano
  • Patent number: 7771156
    Abstract: A method for delivering a plurality of reactor monoliths into an interior of a reactor includes providing at least one tubular member having an outer wall defining an interior space adapted to allow sliding movement of reactor monolith therethrough, and providing a plurality of engagement members located within the interior space of the at least one tubular member and spaced along a length thereof, wherein each engagement member is actuable between an extended position and a retracted position. The at least one tubular member is extended into an interior of a reactor such that a first end of the at least one tubular member is located near an opening in the reactor, and a second end of the at least one tubular member is insert into the interior of the reactor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 25, 2003
    Date of Patent: August 10, 2010
    Assignee: Corning Incorporated
    Inventors: Gilbert Deangelis, Jerome T Firlik, Michael G Shultz
  • Patent number: 7750328
    Abstract: Systems, devices, and methods for filling containers with radioactive materials are described. In certain embodiments, the systems comprise a shielding material that substantially defines a chamber and, preferably, substantially blocks radioactivity, a conduit extending through the shielding material into the chamber, and a securing unit that is disposed in the chamber proximal to the conduit and is adapted to receive a container through the conduit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 27, 2006
    Date of Patent: July 6, 2010
    Assignee: DRAXIMAGE General Partnership
    Inventor: Daniel Tartaglia
  • Patent number: 7715517
    Abstract: A fuel rack for supporting radioactive fuel assemblies in an underwater (or other submerged) environment that reduces the depth required for the pool to effectuate the fuel rack loading procedure. The fuel rack is specially designed to afford lateral loading. In one embodiment, the fuel rack comprises a body structure comprising at least one substantially vertically oriented elongated cell for receiving a nuclear fuel assembly, the body having a top, a bottom and a first lateral side; at least one elongated slot in the first lateral side of the body structure that forms a passageway into the cell through which a vertically oriented fuel assembly can be loaded; and means for supporting a fuel assembly within the cell in a substantially vertical orientation. In another embodiment, the invention is a method of laterally loading a fuel rack that utilizes rotation of the fuel assembly to secure the fuel assembly within its designated cell.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 13, 2007
    Date of Patent: May 11, 2010
    Inventors: Krishna P. Singh, Evan Rosenbaum
  • Publication number: 20090175403
    Abstract: A fast reactor has a reactivity control assembly including a reactor shutdown rod of a backup reactor shutdown system and neutron absorbers to suppress the initial surplus reactivity, a reactor shutdown rod drive mechanism for releasing the reactor shutdown rod and units of neutron absorber drive mechanism capable of moving the respective neutron absorbers up and down. The reactor shutdown rod and the neutron absorbers are arranged in a wrapper tube. The reactor shutdown rod drive mechanism causes an inner extension tube to fall and release the reactor shutdown rod by means of a gripper section at the lowermost end of an outer extension tube by turning off the power supply to a holding magnet at the time of scram. Each of the units of neutron absorber drive mechanism has a dual tube type drive shaft including an outer extension shaft and an inner extension shaft. When grasping the neutron absorbers, the outer extension shaft is pulled up to allow both of the extension shafts to be inserted.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 8, 2007
    Publication date: July 9, 2009
    Applicant: KABUSHIKI KAISHA TOSHIBA
    Inventors: Toshiyuki Suzuki, Koji Matsumoto, Kenzo Koizumi, Yasushi Tsuboi
  • Publication number: 20090161811
    Abstract: Problem: To provide a refueling support system in which fuel transfer procedure establishing operations and associated operations precisely reflecting the fuel burnup conditions can be efficiently performed at the time of scheduled outages at a nuclear power plant.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 23, 2008
    Publication date: June 25, 2009
    Applicant: GLOBAL NUCLEAR FUEL-JAPAN CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Hitoshi SATO, Junichi KOYAMA
  • Patent number: 7539280
    Abstract: A method to load a nuclear fuel rod, comprising, providing nuclear fuel pellets in a fuel plate transfer unit; transferring the nuclear fuel pellets from the fuel plate transfer unit to a fuel pellet column through the use of a belt, indexing the nuclear fuel pellets in the fuel pellet column to a nuclear fuel pellet loading machine; and pushing the fuel pellet column into a fuel rod cladding.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 17, 2005
    Date of Patent: May 26, 2009
    Assignee: AREVA NP Inc.
    Inventors: William E. Bailey, J. Todd Lee
  • Publication number: 20090129527
    Abstract: A refueling apparatus for charging nuclear fuel in a reactor vessel, the refueling apparatus including: a refueling unit loading new nuclear fuel to a core or extracting spent nuclear fuel from the core; and a waveguide sensor unit including an ultrasonic wedge to form a Lamb wave, a waveguide with an end connected to the ultrasonic wedge and with another end transmitting the Lamb wave into the reactor vessel, and an ultrasonic sensor connected to the ultrasonic wedge and sensing a reflection signal reflected from an inside of the reactor vessel, the waveguide being formed in a plate shape and mounted in an end of the refueling unit. The waveguide integrally moves with the refueling unit, and the waveguide sensor unit detects a condition of the inside of the reactor vessel, while the refueling unit refuels the fuel assembly in the reactor vessel.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 12, 2008
    Publication date: May 21, 2009
    Inventors: Young- Sang Joo, Chang- Gyu Park, Seok- Hoon Kim, Gyeong- Hoi Koo, Jae- Han Lee
  • Publication number: 20090060111
    Abstract: A tool to slide a channel on a nuclear reactor fuel bundle assembly, the tool includes: a plate having a slot to receive a handle of the fuel bundle and a lower surface that engages an upper edge of the channel; at least one post extends up from the plate, and an arm is attached to a pivot on the post and includes a first end to receive a downward force and a second end adapted to engage the handle of the fuel bundle to apply an upward force to the handle and push down on the channel.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 29, 2007
    Publication date: March 5, 2009
    Applicant: GLOBAL NUCLEAR FUEL - AMERICAS, LLC
    Inventors: David Francis Wazybok, James Michael Downs, David Gray Smith, Edward G. Apple
  • Patent number: 7492826
    Abstract: A bidirectional crosspoint switch interface employs a pair of backward-connected transimpedance amplifiers of the type disclosed in the L. Enriquez U.S. Pat. No. 6,411,163, and associated scaling current mirrors that drive nodes of associated reverse signal cancellation circuits. The reverse signal cancellation circuits are coupled to respective pairs of ports of the crosspoint switch and input and output ports of 1:1 current mirrors, in a manner that affords bidirectional buffering between the crosspoint switch and a pair of bidirectional signaling ports that terminate respective signaling links, without signal reflections.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 19, 2005
    Date of Patent: February 17, 2009
    Assignee: Intersil Americas Inc.
    Inventor: Christopher Ludeman
  • Patent number: 7424084
    Abstract: A device and method to move a fuel assembly of a nuclear reactor, wherein the device eliminates the potential for dropping the fuel assembly due to stress corrosion cracking of the upper guide thimble sleeves that attach the top nozzle to guide thimbles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 11, 2007
    Date of Patent: September 9, 2008
    Assignee: Areva NP Inc.
    Inventors: George S. Pabis, Darel R. Clark, Anthony A. Pugh, Raymond A. King
  • Publication number: 20080205577
    Abstract: In a spent fuel pool of a nuclear power plant, there is provided a system for aligning a nuclear fuel bundle and handling selected fuel rods within the fuel bundle. The bundle includes water rods, full-length and part-length fuel rods extending through a plurality of fuel spacers provided between top and bottom ends of the bundle, each spacer having a plurality of cells accommodating corresponding fuel and water rods.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 28, 2007
    Publication date: August 28, 2008
    Inventors: David P. Ketcham, Vernon John Fullerton, David Grey Smith, Rex Gormen Robinson, Gerald A. Luciano
  • Patent number: 7397884
    Abstract: An aligning device for fuel elements allows fuel elements of a pressurized water reactor to be aligned in a comparatively easy and quick manner. To this end, the aligning device for fuel elements includes an aligning body, which extends in a longitudinal direction and whose lateral faces formed from side metal sheets can be displaced out of a position of rest in a direction that is perpendicular to the longitudinal direction. The cross-sectional dimensions of the lateral faces of the aligning body in the position of rest are selected so that they are less than the corresponding cross-sectional dimension of a reference fuel element by a predetermined nominal value.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 14, 2005
    Date of Patent: July 8, 2008
    Assignee: Areva NP GmbH
    Inventors: Heinz Maas, Holger Weimer
  • Patent number: 7386087
    Abstract: The invention relates to a method and a device for loading a fuel assembly into the core of a nuclear reactor. The inventive method consists in: inserting a dummy assembly (4) into the loading location (3) of the fuel assembly (5), said dummy assembly essentially having the same shape and dimensions as the loading location (3) and comprising smooth side walls; fixing the position of at least one fuel assembly (5) that is adjacent to the loading location (3), in the presence of the aforementioned dummy assembly (4), in relation to at least one second assembly (5) of the core, using at least one fuel assembly support tool (11); removing the dummy assembly (4) from the loading location (3); introducing the fuel assembly (5) which is being loaded into the loading location (3); and removing the fuel assembly support tool(s) (11).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 3, 2003
    Date of Patent: June 10, 2008
    Assignee: Framatome ANP
    Inventor: Patrice Jublot
  • Patent number: 7321650
    Abstract: The invention relates to a method for transferring an article from a fluid-filled first vessel into a fluid-filled second vessel or in the opposite direction. The vessel is connected by a connecting element, in which there is a transport device for moving the article. A fluid flow flowing out of the first vessel is maintained in one part of the connecting element, while the article is transported through the connecting element. An apparatus for transferring an article, in particular a nuclear fuel element, between the vessels is also described, in which an extraction device for the discharge of fluid is located on the connecting element.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 20, 2004
    Date of Patent: January 22, 2008
    Inventor: Manfred Meintker
  • Patent number: 7139357
    Abstract: A method of servicing a nuclear reactor during a reactor outage is provided. The reactor includes a primary containment vessel and a reactor pressure vessel positioned in the primary containment vessel. The method includes positioning a servicing platform above the reactor pressure vessel and performing predetermined servicing operations on the reactor. The servicing platform includes a frame having a plurality of interconnected beams, a support structure attached to the frame, and a floor attached to a top of the frame. The floor includes a reactor access opening sized to permit access to the reactor pressure vessel. The servicing platform also includes at least one auxiliary platform movably coupled to the frame and extending into the access opening. The at least one auxiliary platform is movable along a perimeter of the access opening of the floor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 7, 2004
    Date of Patent: November 21, 2006
    Assignee: General Electric Company
    Inventors: Dennis Colditz, Vernon Walter Pence, Terry L. Chapman, Michael Jamie Baron, Robert David Geier
  • Patent number: 6895067
    Abstract: A method and apparatus is disclosed for smoothly inserting a fuel rod loader through the skeleton of a fuel cell and then for pulling an attached fuel rod into the fuel rod skeleton while keeping the fuel rod under constant tension and preventing the bowing of the fuel rod. The pulling mechanism comprises a smooth collet with a smooth bullet end cap for guiding the puller mechanism into and through the skeleton where the bullet end cap is removed and the fuel rod is attached with a unique ball and slide mechanism actuated by a long puller rod that grabs the end of the fuel rod by a forward motion of the puller rod and is easily removed from the fuel rod by reversing this motion once the fuel rod is in place.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 30, 2002
    Date of Patent: May 17, 2005
    Assignee: Framatome Anp, Inc.
    Inventors: George Borum, Michael Ryan
  • Patent number: 6885718
    Abstract: The invention relates to a method for transferring an article from a fluid-filled first vessel into a fluid-filled second vessel or in the opposite direction. The vessel is connected by a connecting element, in which there is a transport device for moving the article. A fluid flow flowing out of the first vessel is maintained in one part of the connecting element, while the article is transported through the connecting element. An apparatus for transferring an article, in particular a nuclear fuel element, between the vessels is also described, in which an extraction device for the discharge of fluid is located on the connecting element.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 19, 2000
    Date of Patent: April 26, 2005
    Assignee: Framatome ANP GmbH
    Inventor: Manfred Meintker
  • Publication number: 20040105520
    Abstract: Method and apparatus for utilizing currently operating commercial electric Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) core former plate cooling water flow holes for the ex-core production of nuclear isotopes. In operating PWRs with existing, or modified, core former plates (3) incorporating in-line coolant flow holes (4), it is possible to directly access and install isotope target materials inside an isotope target holder (2) that is connected to a flow enabler (1). The axial mid-plane of a flow enabler (1) would be located at the elevation of the core former plates (3). Thus by continuing the assembly of an isotope target holder (3) both above and below a flow enabler (1) such that a number of the isotope target holders (2) are located between the former plates, an isotope target holder assembly can be formed. The target holder assembly can then be directly inserted into, (or removed from) certain operating PWRs during normal reactor refueling operations.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 10, 2003
    Publication date: June 3, 2004
    Inventor: Gary Shelton Carter
  • Publication number: 20040032924
    Abstract: By the use of two robotic arms installed on the dryer/separator guide rods of a nuclear reactor and the two stud mounted cameras, in total called the FAIS, this invention can perform “real time” core verification, fuel orientation, fuel height seating and debris inspections and verification of proper fuel orientation without the use of the refuel bridge and by use of remote robotic techniques.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 15, 2002
    Publication date: February 19, 2004
    Inventor: John Joseph Judge
  • Patent number: 6639961
    Abstract: An automated machine for loading nuclear reactor fuel, BP, or APSR pellets from small trays having rows of pellets into reactor rods of long length wherein the pellets are individually counted and loaded into rows of a loading tray according to the desired number of pellets per row and total number of pellets per tray with the loading tray controls being moved to a que tray where they may be weighted and there from to an unloading tray for sequential row loading into the reactor rod.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 22, 2000
    Date of Patent: October 28, 2003
    Assignee: Framatome Cogema Fuel Co.
    Inventors: William E. Bailey, Dimick D. Heller, Steven D. Overby