Application of robotics during the decommissioning of nuclear facilities: state of the art and development prospects

Application of robotics during the decommissioning of nuclear facilities: state of the art and development prospects

Boris A. Spassky
PhD in Technical Sciences, Russian State Scientific Center for Robotics and Technical
Cybernetics (RTC), Head of Section, 21, Tikhoretsky pr., Saint Petersburg, 194064, Russia, tel.: +7(812)552-13-25, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., ORCID: 0000-0002-5210-5408

Alexander V. Popov
PhD in Technical Sciences, RTC, Deputy Director for Science, 21, Tikhoretsky pr., Saint Petersburg, 194064, Russia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., ORCID: 0000-0001-6484-4411

Igor Yu. Dalyaev
PhD in Technical Sciences, RTC, Chief Designer for Extreme Robotics and Automation, 21, Tikhoretsky pr., Saint Petersburg, 194064, Russia, tel.: +7(911)229-73-01, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., ORCID: 0000-0003-0494-065X, ResearcherID: E-1650-2014

Received September 7, 2022

The article deals with the application of mobile robotic systems (UGV) during the decommissioning of nuclear industry and energy facilities. It is shown that, in contrast to the recovery from accidents, when usually the work is carried out in an unknown unstructured environment, which implies damage to buildings, blockages, flood zones, etc., decommissioning is carried out in a rather complex, but well known environment according to a pre-developed plan. The general requirements for such UGVs are discussed, based on the features and practice of their application.

Key words
Mobile robotic complex, UGV, nuclear facility, nuclear decommissioning.

This work was carried out within the framework of the state assignment of the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia № 075-01623-22-00 dated December 28, 2021 «Development of proposals for improving the state scientific, technical and industrial policy and popularizing achievements in the field of robotics based on an analysis of trends in the development of robotics in Russia and abroad».


Bibliographic description
Spassky, B.A., Popov, A.V. and Dalyaev, I.Yu. (2022). Application of robotics during the decommissioning of nuclear facilities: state of the art and development prospects. Robotics and Technical Cybernetics, 10(4), pp.246-254.

UDC identifier:


  1. International Federation of Robotics, (2022). President’s Report by Milton Guerry, [online]. Available at: (Accessed 13 July 2022).
  2. (2021). Demolition robots. Level of distribution. World Robotics 2021. Service Robots. Frankfurt: VDMA Verlag, Germany,, p.123.
  3. Bochkarev, V.V. et al. (2021). Rekomendatsii po Razrabotke Kontseptsii Vyvoda iz Ekspluatatsii Ob"Ekta Ispol'zovaniya Atomnoy Energii. RB-008-21. Rukovodstvo po Bezopasnosti pri Ispol'zovanii Atomnoy Energii [Recommendations for the Development of a Concept for Decommissioning a Nuclear Facility. RB-008-21. Safety Guidelines for the Use of Atomic Energy]. Moscow: FBU «NTTs YaRB». (in Russian).
  4. Spassky, B., Popov, A. and Dalyaev, I. (2021). Towards the use of robotic systems at nuclear facilities. Robotics and Technical Cybernetics, 9(4), pp.245-251.
  5. Spassky, B. (2020). Teleoperation in extreme robotics. Robotics and Technical Cybernetics, 8(2), pp.101-111.
  6. Fulbright, R. and Stephens, L.M. (1995). Fulbright R. SWAMI: An autonomous mobile robot for inspection of nuclear waste storage facilities. Autonomous Robots 2, 225-235. DOI: 10.1007/BF00710858.
  7. Yuuji Hosoda, et al. (2002). 'SWAN': A robot for nuclear disaster prevention support. Advanced Robotics, 16(6), pp.485-488. DOI: 10.1163/156855302320535782.
  8. Robotnik, (2022). Robot for the Deactivation of Explosives, [online]. Available at: (Accessed 11 August 2022).
  9. Tsitsimpelis, J. et al. (2019). A review of ground-based robotic systems for the characterization of nuclear environments. Progress in Nuclear Energy, vol. 111, pp.109-124.
  10. Bogue, R. (2011). Robots in the nuclear industry: a review of technologies and applications. Industrial Robot, 38(2), pp.113-118. DOI: 10.1108/01439911111106327.
  11. (2015). Technology Roadmap - Nuclear Energy Agency 2015 edition. In: OECD Nuclear Energy Agency – NEA Le Seine Saint-Germain. Available at: (Accessed 19 August 2022).
  12. Di Castro, M., Ferre, M. and Masi, A. (2018). CERNTAURO: A modular architecture for robotic inspection and telemanipulation in harsh and Semi-Structured environments. IEEE Access, vol. 6, pp.37506-37522. DOI: 10.1109/ACCESS.2018.2849572.
  13. Bird, B. et al. (2021). Vega-A small, low cost, ground robot for nuclear decommissioning. Journal of Field Robotics, DOI: 10.1002/rob.22048.
  14. Bandala, M. et al. (2019). Vision-based assisted tele-operation of a Dual-Arm Hydraulically actuated Robot for pipe cutting and grasping in nuclear environments. Robotics 2019. 8(2), 42. DOI: 10.3390/robotics8020042.
  15. RTC, (2022). Ground-based RTK «Kapitan»: a Small-Sized Robotic Complex, [online]. Available at: (Accessed 6 September 2022).
  16. RTC, (2022). Means of Radiation Reconnaissance «RTK-08»: Robotic complex of a light class, [online]. Available at: URL: (Accessed 8 September 2022).
  17. Sesmero, C.P., Buonocore, L.R. and Di Castro M. (2021). Omnidirectional robotic platform for surveillance of particle accelerator environments with limited space area. Appliend Sciences 2021, 11(14), p.6631. DOI: 10.3390/app11146631.
  18. Wang Mingfei and Chou Wusheng (2017). Development and implementation of a multifunctional inspection and rescue robot system for fusion facility. In: 2017 IEEE 2nd Advanced Information Technology, Electronic and Automation Control Conference (IAEAC): proceedings of a conference. DOI:10.1109/IAEAC.2017.8054007.
  19. Youhyun Jang et al. (2022). Development of quadruped robot for inspection of underground pipelines in nuclear power plants. Electronics Letters. 58(6), pp.234-236.
  20. Luk, B.L. et al. (2005). Walking and climbing service robots for safety inspection of nuclear reactor pressure vessels. In: 2005 Asia Pacific Conf. Risk Management and Safety: proceedings of a conference,432-438.
  21. Spassky, B. (2016). Review of modern human-robot interface systems of unmanned ground vehicles. Robotics and Technical Cybernetics, 4(13), pp.21-31.
  22. Sergeev, A., Titov, V. and Shardyko, I. (2021). Induced virtual environment for control of a manipulator designed for working with radioactive materials. Robotics and Technical Cybernetics, 9(1), pp.32-41.
  23. Corucci, F. and Ruffaldi, E. (2014). Toward Autonomous Robots for Demolitions in Unstructured Environments. Chapter in Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-08338-4_109.
  24. Kopylov, V. et al. (2021). Realizatsiya silomomentnogo ochuvstvleniya s privnesennoy uprugost'yu v sharnirakh manipulyatorov dlya primeneniya v opasnykh sredakh [Implementation of force-torque sensing with introduced elasticity in the joints of manipulators for use in hazardous environments]. In: XIII Vserossiyskaya Nauchno-Tekhnicheskaya Konferentsiya s Mezhdunarodnym Uchastiem «Robototekhnika i Iskusstvennyy Intellekt»: Materialy [XIII All-Russian Scientific and Technical Conference with International Participation «Robotics and Artificial Intelligence»: Materials], pp.12-17. (in Russian).
  25. Titov, V., Shardyko, I. and Dalyaev, I. (2013). Implementation of force/torque control for 2 DOF robot manipulator. In: Extreme Robotics: proceedings of a conference, pp.368-376.