Issue 55 Uncrewed Systems Technology Apr/May 2024 Sellafield’s UAV equipment l Applied EV Blanc Robot l Battery tech l Robotican’s Goshawk l UGVs l UAVHE RW1 rotary l Roboat UVD l Autopilots l Arkeocean UVD l UMEX 2024 l CycloTech UVD

21 ground vehicles (UGVs), remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) for underwater work, and many simpler inspection devices such as cameras on long poles. “It’s the overall inspection capability that we look at. With a new technology, we will try as many things as possible to see what works, and then bring it back to which tools are best for which job.” Risk management The team works on the ‘ALARP’ principle, which seeks to keep risks “as low as reasonably practicable”, Smith explains. “If there is no need to fly a drone over a building or into an area, we don’t. However, if it keeps people away from harm then we do. Usually, that means avoiding having people working at height or in high-dose areas.” The first UAVs that came to Sellafield were DJI models, used in the security and resilience role, before Smith became team leader. The inspection role arose from the need to check a large number of external ventilation ducts more frequently and thoroughly, she explains. Previously, this involved erecting scaffolding, but it was impossible to inspect the tops of many ducts. Sellafield’s solution was to bring in an outside contractor to help set up a central UAV team that was able to operate within UK Civil Aviation Authority regulations. Smith’s first task as team leader was to help the contractor understand how things must be done on a nuclear site. Evolving UAV fleet The UAV chosen was the Intel Falcon 8, which proved successful. It remains on the fleet but is now getting old and coming up for replacement. “It’s quite hard to find a like-for-like system, but we still use the ones we’ve got, and have multiple spares so we can keep them going for a little longer yet.” The current fleet includes DJI Enterprise 2 models, which are used for training emergency response teams. Amanda Smith | In conversation If there is no need to fly a drone over a building or into an area, we don’t. However, if it keeps people away from harm then we do Uncrewed Systems Technology | April/May 2024 Sellafield’s UAV team is part of the Remote Technologies Group (RTG), which operates a variety of uncrewed and remotely operated inspection tools, including UGVs such as Spot from Boston Dynamics