CMU Robots to Inspect Miles of Pipes at DOE Uranium Enrichment Plants

Byron Spice reports from CMU that the robots can measure radioactivity from within the pipes to a greater degree of accuracy than human inspectors, and that this process simultaneously spares humans the hazards and enormous person-hours and daunting logistics of inspection duty.  DOE officials estimate the robots could save tens of millions of dollars in completing the characterization of uranium deposits at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon (shown), and save perhaps $50 million at a similar uranium enrichment plant in Paducah, Kentucky.

RadPiper is a robot developed by the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute for the Department of Energy. The treaded robot moves within the pipes of uranium-enrichment facilities to determine areas where radiation levels may pose a hazard. Robot photo credit: Carnegie Mellon University via For more information, contact Byron Spice at, 412-268-9068.