Refueling system components for LMFBR’s require a high degree of accuracy because of the need to function remotely without visual access. Also, they must have proven reliability to assure minimum plant outage for reactor refueling. The experience gained in the development of the in-vessel handling machine (IVHM) for the Fast Flux Test Facility reactor dramatically indicates that construction, testing, and modification of the design are an essential part of the development of this type of equipment. It is suggested that design and development schedules for this type of equipment must allow for production and testing of prototypes to assure that functional requirements of plant equipment will be achieved. The money spent on such testing must be considered as an investment rather than as a direct cost, with the return on investment being high reliability and consequently high plant availability. The IVHM is described briefly, and some specific lessons learned during prototype testing are presented.

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