University of Manchester
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3D Simulation Assets for Nuclear Environments [Gazebo Format]

posted on 2024-03-01, 14:18 authored by Andrew WestAndrew West


These assets were generated as part of supporting work to simulate realistic nuclear environments in Gazebo (used in conjunction with the Robot Operating System [ROS]), therefore enabling robot development in otherwise prohibitive and hazardous scenarios.


Deploying robots in nuclear environments for testing is not always possible, furthermore, these opportunities are usually incredibly limited and does not lend itself to incremental development of new systems. Therefore, much of this development must be performed in simulation.

This work provides industrially realistic environments, with various physical hazards for a robot to avoid.

The Datasets

The dataset consists of individual assets (3D models of objects), and entire environments which may contain copies of individual assets.

Individual Assets:

500L Drum

The 500 Litre drum is a standard storage solution for hazardous waste. It has set dimensions, protocols as well as stillage for storage and transport. Please see this document. More information on nuclear material storage can be found here, particularly here.


The Barrel is the typical 200 Litre storage drum for lower activity materials. Historically, materials have been stored in these containers.

Intermediate Bulk Container

The Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) is a standardised container for materials (liquids and solids). More general information can be found on Wikipedia.


The crate is a "Eurocrate"/"EuroBoxes"/"Plastic Euro Container"/"Stacking Euro Container". More about the standard can be found on Wikipedia.

Barrier | Fire Extinguisher | Pallet | Pallet Trolley

These are generic assets which might be found in an industrial environment. The Barrier is a typical zinc coated metal crowd control barrier. The Fire Extinguisher is a typical red hand held unit. The Pallet is wooden, with an accompanying Pallet Trolley.

Room/Building Scale Environments:

Drum Store

This is a generic single room, with flat floor and some various clutter (pallets, pallet trolley). The barrels are stacked 2x2, in two layers inspired by the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy Drum Store (see an image here). This can be used for mock routine inspection missions.

500 L Drum Store

In the same format as the Drum Store, but replaced with 500 L flasks. The room is identical, however, the additional clutter of pallets and pallet trolley has been removed. The flasks are stored in a suitable stillage, rather than on pallets.

Industrial Environment

This environment is a complete, full scale environment, with many objects and opportunities for inspection tasks, such as dials and gauges. Further to this, there is an appropriate amount of clutter, as well as other challenges, including drops, stairs, intermittent barriers, overhangs etc. There is also a specific "stress test" room on the ground floor, containing ramps, debris, trenches and partial gratings over trenches.


All assets and environments are written as .sdf files and accompanying textures and meshes for Gazebo. An example launch file and world file is given in the accompanying dataset to this one. They are simple to include, and are written to be compatible with Gazebo or Gazebo Classic.

How to Include in a Simulation

This is dependant on the use of Gazebo or Gazebo Classic. Further documentation can be found here. The approach in both cases is to include models in the world file, and launch Gazebo to use that world file.


Advancing Location Accuracy via Collimated Nuclear Assay for Decommissioning Robotic Applications (ALACANDRA)

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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