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ECA provides nuclear reactor visual monitoring system to a major French engineering player SNEF

Monday, November 15 2021
ECA Group will supply the SNEF Group with a sophisticated thru-wall video system enabling the surveillance of the hot cells within the Reactor Jules Horowitz (RJH) research reactor recently built at the CEA site of Cadarache, France.

The SNEF Group’s Nuclear division, a major French engineering company, was granted a contract for the RJH:  a research reactor recently erected at the CEA site of Cadarache. The reactor will be dedicated to studying the behaviour of materials and fuels under strong irradiation.

As part of this project, SNEF Nuclear was searching for a thru-wall video system to monitor the operations within the nuclear hot cells. A significant order relating to the study, qualification and production of a video surveillance system intended for the internal visualization of hot cells (MUVcc) was awarded to ECA Group:

  • The study phase focuses on the mechanical and electrical integration of the system, associated with documentation management in connection with the safety requirements of the system.
  • The qualification phase involves accelerated aging and qualification tests in terms of water tightness and humidity.

ECA Group has been selected for its extensive experience in radiation tolerant video systems for hot cells monitoring, and notably for its thru-wall technique allowing for total neutron and biological protection.

For this project, ECA Group will provide a panoramic viewing (tilt & rotate) CCD camera system derived from its standard DTR 100 ZTC TV camera. These types of cross-wall cameras will provide the operators with a general and precise view inside the cells in which radioactive sources will be handled. Strategically positioned, ECA Group cameras will offer real-time video surveillance network dedicated to monitoring the work tools.

The complete system to be delivered integrates 4 thru-wall cameras with their control commands. The particularity of the monitoring system is that it can be moved and integrated in one of the 11 locations provided in the different hot cells. The system will be subject to extensive factory tests on site.



This thru-wall panoramic viewing system has been designed in collaboration with the CEA to assist with remote handling operations within the hot cells. The camera is mounted on a tractor that can be retracted inside the main housing, to prevent the camera being exposed to radiations when it is in stand-by mode. The built-in lead plug guarantees the continuity of the cell biological protection. This system can be used through walls, both horizontally and vertically.

The camera dome can be replaced without any intervention on the hot cell side, while maintaining its tightness; the camera electronic block can be replaced in a few minutes and in the same conditions.


About SNEF

The SNEF Group is a major French engineering company, operating worldwide and specialized in electrical engineering (high and low voltage).


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