For Immediate Release
Date: January 15, 2018


Sales at Newton Labs
Newton Labs


Inspector Robot performs a further tank inspection with VT-1 Tank Floor/ Weld Inspection and Phased Array UT at Palo Verde

Seattle, Washington - Newton Labs and Framatome (formerly AREVA NP) successfully completed a robotic examination of a third filled Condensate Storage Tank (CST) using Phased Array UT and VT-1 Visual Examination at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. The exam satisfied requirements for license renewal and the NEI 09-14 directive on buried pipes and tanks.

AREVA NP engineers conducted the survey of the tank floor by using a combination of phased array ultra-sound and visual examinations utilizing the Inspector underwater robot, designed, manufactured and operated by engineers from Newton Labs. Traditional storage tank inspection methods require the tank to be drained and ventilated so that humans in protective clothing can enter and conduct the exam. With the use of the Inspector robot, it is not necessary to drain the tank or stop water circulation. In fact, tank inspections with the Inspector robot have been performed off outage without any obstruction to plant operation.

The Inspector robot provided all data requested by site engineering in order to satisfy their license renewal and NEI 09-14 requirements. The robot surveyed over 90 percent of the tank bottom by inspecting each of the 36 floor plates of the 54 feet (16.5 m) diameter tank, as well as visually examining the perimeter welds where the 52 feet (15.8 m) tall tank wall meets the floor.

"We're proud the Inspector has provided this third cost-saving examination at Palo Verde," said John Bramblet, Newton Labs' President. "Comparing multiple exam results will allow for trending analysis and the enhanced visual capabilities met VT-1 requirements for license renewal."

Newton and Framatome (formerly AREVA NP) partnered in January to offer this innovative solution with enhanced NDE techniques and coverage. The Inspector robot was first deployed at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in the fall of 2014 and has had many successful deployments since. Framatome and Newton are now preparing their spring and summer schedule for 2018 and invite requests from interest utilities. Now that several tanks have been successfully inspected off-outage the companies see this methodology as a cost savings for both the utility and the providers.

The Inspector underwater robot is equipped to carry two NDE probes in addition to five on-board video cameras which provide 360 degrees plus down-looking live video. A built-in down-pointed laser scanner with 0.01 inches (0.3 mm) resolution outputs a detailed point cloud that, when applied to 3D software, a fully measurable CAD model can be generated. The robot's precision navigation system enables the locations of defects found on any plate to be mapped, allowing the robot to later return to those locations with +/- 1/8 inch (0.3 mm) accuracy.

More information about the Inspector robot system can be found at:

Jeff Remark - Framatome (formerly Areva)
Ben Antrobus - Newton Labs

About Newton Labs

Based in the technology center of Seattle, Newton Labs is a privately held manufacturer of robotics, laser scanning, machine vision and optical automation systems. Originating out of MIT, the company has spent over 20 years building a diverse history of delivering innovative solutions across multiple industries, specializing in challenging environments like Nuclear, Subsea and Underwater Applications. Newton Labs has deployed more than 30,000 machine vision, robotic, laser scanning and automation systems worldwide. Read more at