National Nuclear Laboratory


A New Approach to Remote Visual Inspection of Pipes in the Nuclear Industry

Remote Visual Inspection of Pipes

Current approach

  • Push rod cameras or video probe
  • Skilled operator to identify defects for more detailed examination


  • Lack of positional information
  • Narrow field of view
  • Lengthy inspection durations
  • High operator dose
Pipe inspector

Innovate UK Collaborative R&D Project

  • Developing the nuclear power supply chain – Competition for CR&D and feasibility funding – March 2014
  • CR&D funding secured in Oct 2014
  • 3 year project commenced in April 2015
Sellafield LTD
National Nuclear Laboratory
University of Strathclyde

MAPS Technology

  • Combination of laser scanning and imaging to provide significant upgrade in remote visual inspection of pipework
  • 360° images of the interior pipe surface are acquired from a HD camera under illuminated conditions
  • Images also acquired of a ring of laser light projected onto the surface of the pipe
  • Pipe bore dimensions determined from triangulation to produce point cloud of pipe surface
  • Visual images are automatically scaled, corrected for geometric warping, stitched and overlaid onto the laser data to produce a textural 3D model of the pip interior
MAPS Technology

MAPS Consortium

Stakeholders and roles

  • University of Strathclyde – founding member of the UK Research Centre for Non Destructive Evaluation
  • Wideblue – product design and development with specialist expertise in optical technology
  • Inspectahire – provision of remote visual inspection products and services
  • Sellafield Ltd – nuclear site license company with significant pipework assets
  • National Nuclear Laboratory – provision of specialist remote visual inspection capability

MAPS – Results

Maps Results