March 21, 2017

AREVA Partners with Newton Research Labs to Provide Industry-first Comprehensive Robotic Exam Technology

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 21, 2017 – AREVA NP signed an exclusive agreement with Newton Research Labs, Inc. to make Newton’s non-destructive evaluation (NDE) inspection technology available to the U.S. nuclear industry. The combined service will be the most advanced NDE tank inspection and robotic repair service currently available in the nuclear industry.

With this partnership, AREVA NP becomes the exclusive U.S. supplier for Newton’s “Inspector” robot technology for tank inspections. This semi-autonomous, underwater robot surveys the floor of a borated water storage tank without the need to drain or remove the tank from service. This allows utilities to complete these inspections faster and more efficiently, ensuring the continued safe operation of the nuclear power plant. Inspector robots can map and inspect more than 90 percent of a tank floor; this includes inspecting within close proximity to the tank’s wall edge.

“AREVA NP is an industry leader in providing phased array ultrasonic techniques and equipment for nuclear plant examinations,” said Craig Ranson, senior vice president of the Installed Base Business Unit in the United States. “Our proven inspection expertise combined with Newton's robotics ingenuity will help us provide improved methods to enhance maintenance and safety in the nuclear energy industry.”

"The Inspector has a track record of success inspecting in-service water storage tanks both during outages and off-outage," said Eric Yates, sales manager of Newton Labs. "We are excited to work with AREVA NP to continue offering this comprehensive inspection and repair service, and we will work together to develop new ways to improve plant operations."

First deployed in 2014, Newton’s Inspector robots are a field-proven solution that allow for complete remote inspections in empty or full water tanks during operations or off-peak seasons. They employ a combination of autonomous machine vision navigation and direct operator guidance to accurately identify and map tank floor weld locations. This is followed by a detailed inspection on a per-plate basis, providing XYZ coordinate locations of any identified flaws in the tank floor using a phased array ultrasonic test. Using on-board sensors, locations of any identified defects are pin-pointed to within 1/8th of an inch (3 mm), allowing for a precision return for further inspection or repairs.

AREVA NP’s inspection services agreement with Newton Labs combines the expertise of both firms: NDE testing and analysis by AREVA NP, and optical inspection, underwater laser scanning and robotics by Newton. The agreement is exclusive to North America, with global consideration on a case-by-case basis.