Towards Long Lasting Robot Operations in Nuclear Facilities (2 scholarships)

  • Develop long lasting robotics capability in nuclear facilities to improve safety and productivity
  • Regular onsite visits to the Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation (ANSTO)
  • POSTED: May 12, 2023
  • CLOSES: Open until filled
  • LOCATION: Sydney, Australia & Canberra, Australia
  • POSITION: PhD Scholarship
  • ORGANISATION: University of Sydney or The Australian National University
  • SUPERVISOR: Professor Anna Paradowska (USyd)/Professor Hanna Kurniawati (ANU)
  • PhD STIPEND: $40k each

Despite the mentioned potentials of robotics in nuclear processing facilities, their
applications in nuclear facilities have been hindered by the detrimental effects of
gamma radiation to robots. Most nuclear processing emits gamma radiation, which
degrades many components of a robot, from its sensors to its motors. Some robots
have been designed for operation in nuclear environment, and hence more immune to
gamma radiation. However, existing nuclear-hardened feature in robots relies solely on
the hardware, which tend to carry exorbitant price tags compared to even the best
commonly used industrial robots. On the other hand, the tremendous advances made
in robotics over the past two decades is due to both hardware and software.

This project aims to explore if and how advances in the robotic systems –both hardware
and software– could alleviate the negative effects of gamma radiation in robotics for
nuclear processing. To this end, two PhD projects will focus on:

  • Understanding and quantifying the effects of gamma radiation in commonly used
    industrial robotics platforms under a variety of tasks.
  • Developing a system-based approach to prolong the usefulness of robots in nuclear processing facilities.

PhD-1 Supervised by Prof Anna Paradowska (USyd):

The PhD student will explore the effects of gamma radiation to robot operation
in a nuclear facility. Specifically, they will develop models that map gamma radiation to
the degradation in the different components of the robot and the overall performance of
the robot. These models will be classified into two types. First, the dynamics models
that indicate how the degradation and performance of the robot’s components and
system evolve over time. Second, the observation likelihood models that indicate the type of observations and evolution on measurement errors that might be perceived by
the robot under a variety of gamma radiation exposure. The outcome of this research
can be used in a variety of robotics applications in nuclear facilities.

PhD-2 Supervised by Prof Hanna Kurniawati (ANU):

This PhD student will explore a system-based approach to prolong the use of
robots in nuclear processing facilities. Questions to be explored include suitable sensor
configurations, including the potential of mounting additional sensors inside and outside
the work-cells, and the integrated planning and control of the robot in the presence of
deteriorating sensors, sensing, and potentially the robot’s components.

How to Apply

To apply, please fill out the form below with the subject line “Towards Long Lasting Robot Operations in Nuclear Facilities” and your name. Include the following:

  • CV
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Cover letter

Please also include a Google Drive link to a 2-minute selfie video covering the following:

  • Your strongest engineering skills
  • What do you enjoy most about developing technology
  • A description of a project that you’re proud of, or plan to be when completed

Apply Now

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