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Published On: Mon, Jan 18th, 2016

Fukushima New Cleaning Crew

The operator company TEPCO also almost five years after the accident at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima mopping present major challenges. Soon a whole family of new robots should be equated up there, which work in places with different special abilities, people should not enter.

Almost lazily, almost unspectacular is the white-and blue tracked vehicle, while it hinauf roll a ramp slowly. The four and a half minute long video which comes complete without audio commentary, shows but the new ‘workers’, which should clean up at least a little bit in the second and third floor of the contaminated reactor buildings of Fukushima.

Robot family

On her Facebook page, the operator company TEPCO immediately speaks of a whole family of robots. However, robots in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant are no novelty. In the more contaminated ground floor is already a whole armada of autonomous machines in use – on chains, legs or even floating. On its Web site, the company provides an insight into the different types.

Fukushima New Cleaning Crew

From April, the new robots in the highly contaminated reactor building to advance and the second and third floor so thoroughly decontaminate people can work there. Toshiba, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Heavy have co-developed the machines under the leadership of the Japanese Institute for reactor decommissioning. Photo: Tepco

One of the chains moving machines is equipped with a high pressure cleaner according to TEPCO. However, a further robotic is responsible for the transport of dry ice. Where ever needed, this breaks down the large blocks into small pieces and flings them – for purposes of decontamination – irradiated areas. Another one of his “colleagues” distributed strong abrasives, polishes and sucks off then the resulting dust. As TEPCO pointed out, all the robots are so agile that they can turn on the surface of a coin around its own axis.

Accompanied by supply wagon

Also bumps or surveys should be no major obstacles for the machines. The robot will be accompanied by at least one supply wagon: a tracked vehicle on yellow steel base that provides needed chemicals and other substances via a hose connection.

The robot from afar are controlled by employees of the energy company – using controllers that are similar to those of game consoles. Very often, the word IRID is on the machines to read. The International Research Institute for reactor decommissioning, based in Tokyo, has developed the robot in cooperation with companies such as Hitachi, Toshiba and Mitsubishi also heavy behind.

Fukushima New Cleaning Crew

Only in last April a robot sent to photos from inside the ruins of the reactor out there, back the machine but no longer returned, since she themselves had apparently jammed. Anyway, the vehicle would be to great danger after the visit to the reactor for people. In the building, the robot had measured a radiation exposure by 9.7 sievert per hour at that time. For such loads, a man would die within an hour.