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Systems and methods for retaining and removing irradiation targets in a nuclear reactor

United States Patent

December 8, 2015
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
U.S. Department of Energy - Visit the Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Technology Transfer & Intellectual Property Website
A retainer is placed on a conduit to control movement of objects within the conduit in access-restricted areas. Retainers can prevent or allow movement in the conduit in a discriminatory fashion. A fork with variable-spacing between prongs can be a retainer and be extended or collapsed with respect to the conduit to change the size of the conduit. Different objects of different sizes may thus react to the fork differently, some passing and some being blocked. Retainers can be installed in inaccessible areas and allow selective movement in remote portions of conduit where users cannot directly interface, including below nuclear reactors. Position detectors can monitor the movement of objects through the conduit remotely as well, permitting engagement of a desired level of restriction and object movement. Retainers are useable in a variety of nuclear power plants and with irradiation target delivery, harvesting, driving, and other remote handling or robotic systems.
Runkle; Gary A. (San Jose, CA), Matsumoto; Jack T. (San Jose, CA), Dayal; Yogeshwar (San Jose, CA), Heinold; Mark R. (San Jose, CA)
GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas, LLC (Wilmington, NC)
13/ 710,090
December 10, 2012
GOVERNMENT SUPPORT This invention was made with Government support under contract number DE-FC52-09NA29626, awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.