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Nuclear Safety Cooperation

R5.04/03 S - Robotics equipment supply for the establishment of the ural siberian methodology and research centre for nuclear materials accounting and control

  • Closed
Benefitting Zone
Eastern Europe / North Asia
€ 482,037.00
EU Contribution
Contracted in 2006
Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States


Type of activity

Equipment Supply



Contracting authority


Method of Procurement

(FR2007) (Ext. act) Supply - Local open procedure with prior publication - Art. 243.1 IR


04/05/2006 - 04/01/2012


MINATOM RF, later ROSATOM (since 12/2007)



Project / Budget year

TACIS 2003 - Nuclear Safety Action Programme / 2003


In the Ural/Siberian region, there are a number of bulk handling facilities for enrichment, fuel fabrication and reprocessing. A large number of people are involved in the management of nuclear materials. In addition to the facilities at the back end of the fuel cycle, there are facilities involved in the dismantling of nuclear weapons. In this context, the Russian Federation Nuclear Centre - All Russia Research Institute of Technical Physics (Russian RFNC-VNIITF) in Snezhinsk was proposed by the Russian Ministry for Atomic Energy (Rosatom, ex Minatom) as the lead institute to develop transparency measures in the dismantling process and to provide safeguards and non proliferation assurance for the nuclear materials no longer needed for defence purposes.

In the late nineties, the European Commission decided to launch a comprehensive programme to support, through the TACIS programme, the establishment of the Ural-Siberia Methodology and Training Centre (UrSiMTC), to be hosted by RFNC-VNIITF. The UrSiMTC was intended to become the regional centre for disseminating advanced Nuclear Materials Accountancy and Control (NMAC). Staff from facilities would be able to receive training and guidance in developing valid approaches and technology, including hands-on training at pilot facilities. The Centre would provide a focal point for technology transfer and training in modern techniques for NMAC.

Three separate, consecutive TACIS projects were implemented as part of the comprehensive programme:

  1. R5.04/96 (see contract 25336): Feasibility study
  2. R5.01/97D (also referred to as R5.04/97; see contract 26512): First stage of the implementation
  3. R5.04/98 (see contract 47465): Final stage of the implementation.

Contract 47465 was the final phase of the project to establish the UrSiMTC. One of the objectives of contract 47465 was to prepare the Technical Specifications for the procurement of robotic equipment required for the Pu laboratory of the UrSiMTC. The equipment was then procured by the EC under TACIS funding through the present project.

The equipment was intended to extend the capabilities of the methodology and training module-lab for storage facilities at the UrSiMRC in terms of safety and security by the reduction of human intervention inside storage areas using an advanced robotics system to carry out inventory and handling of Plutonium dioxide (PuO2) containers. This advanced and versatile robotics system, named ROBSTAR (ROBot for STorage AReas), consisted of a lightweight manipulator arm mounted on a small-size vehicle, both equipped with a number of sensors and tools required for the scope of the project.

In this project, a ROBSTAR system would be developed for demonstration of automated tasks in storage areas under the supervision and control of the Accountancy and Control System developed by UrSiMRC.


The ROBSTAR system equipment consisted of the following components:

  1. A mobile robotics platform: a remotely-controlled electrically-driven vehicle with differential wheels configuration, equipped with a number of sensors for navigation and safety purposes. The mobile platform was intended to have on-board a lightweight SCARA-type manipulator for inventory and handling tasks. The mobile platform will also required to have a transport pad for one PuO2 container. The mobile platform contained an onboard controller composed of an embedded computer for the vehicle control and of another embedded computer for the system control including the manipulator, its sensors and the vehicle controller.
  2. A lightweight SCARA manipulator arm: with 6 Degrees of Freedom (DOF), mounted on the mobile platform, with appropriate link lengths and joints travel to properly carry out inventory and handling tasks.
  3. A set of wrist devices: The manipulator wrist shall be equipped with a 6 DOF force/torque sensor to monitor external forces, with a CCD camera coupled to an artificial vision system for automated robot guidance and with a manual tool-changer with connectors for signal and power lines.
  4. A gripper for handling tasks: an electrically-driven gripper with 2 fingers having gripping force sensors, to be mounted on the tool changer of the SCARA manipulator and designed to handle one PuO2 container.
  5. A HMI workstation with a number of software development tools for the software development of the Human Machine Interface (HMI) and of the GENERIS-based system controller.

The detailed specifications of every component are given in this document.

The ROBSTAR equipment had to be firstly delivered by the Supplier to the site of the EC-Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy (Consultant of contract 47465), where it had to be tested for preliminary Site Acceptance. Afterwards, the JRC would interface the ROBSTAR equipment to GENERIS, (the JRC’s robotics software platform), calibrate and program the system for the demonstration application.

After the demonstration preparation, ROBSTAR had to be delivered by the Supplier and installed by the JRC and the End-User at the UrSiMTC, RFNC-VNIITF (Russian Federal Nuclear Center, Institute for Technical Physics), in the town of Snezhinsk, Chelyabinsk Region, Russia. The final Site Acceptance of the equipment was to be run at UrSiMTC, where it would be used running the prepared demonstration, in the framework of training courses on advanced technologies for NMAC of PuO2 storages.

The Supplier’s scope of work comprised:

  • The procurement of hardware and software components including spare parts, tools and accessories
  • The design and manufacturing of specific parts
  • The integration of all components to obtain the ROBSTAR platform
  • The Factory Acceptance Tests
  • The delivery of the equipment to the JRC site
  • The unpacking & supervision of the installation
  • Assistance to the execution of the Site Acceptance Tests
  • Technical support to the JRC’s personnel on the system and components during the GENERIS integration activities and demo preparation

After the JRC integration work and demo preparation and prior to the second shipment to the End User site: witnessing the demo, checking the equipment and repackaging the equipment for shipment.

  • Shipment and delivery of the equipment to the End User site
  • Unpacking and functional check of the equipment at the End User site
  • Training of End User personnel at End User site

The equipment was contracted through competitive tendering. The call for tender was launched during 17 September 2005 and tender evaluation took place in November/December 2005. The contract was awarded in May 2006.


The contract was signed 3 May 2006. Factory Acceptance Tests of the robotics equipment were completed in February 2007. The Preliminary Site Acceptance Tests (SAT1) were performed successfully in June 2007 at JRC, Ispra and the Preliminary Provisional Acceptance Certificate (PAC) was signed. The five year warranty period started on signature of the Preliminary PAC. Further works were necessary at JRC, Ispra, until August 2008 when the equipment was then packed and ready for shipment. However, shipment of the equipment to the End User site was delayed due to issues with the Russian customs. The equipment was eventually delivered in May 2009 and unpacked by the Supplier in June 2009. The period from August 2008 to June 2009 was discounted from the warranty period. The equipment was installed and the SAT2 were performed in the presence of JRC staff in July 2009. The final Provisional Acceptance Certificate was signed. The Final Acceptance Certificate was signed at the end of the warranty period (April 2013).