Robots Keep Dying in Fukushima Nuclear Site

Asia
Robots Keep Dying in Fukushima Nuclear Site PHOTOGRAPH: rabedirkwenigsen/Pixabay | Under Public Domain

Robots sent to clean up the Fukushima nuclear site kept on dying making it hard for the clearing of the area. The Japanese government handed the responsibility of clearing up Fukushima to the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). A 9.0 magnitude earthquake massively damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011. Three of the six nuclear reactors suffered a meltdown and emanated a dangerous amount of radiation.

The government relocated more than 100,000 residents in the Fukushima Prefecture. The government had tried to deal with the aftermath. The incident was the world’s largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

The clean-up involved robots, sent to probe the site. Since the radiation levels are too high, it will be too dangerous for humans to get in contact with. Unfortunately, the robots sent to the area kept on having malfunctions. Earlier last month, TEPCO sent a robot to Fukushima’s No. 2 reactor. TEPCO had to abort the mission after deposits blocked the robot. Experts believed that deposits are a mixture of melted fuel as well as broken pieces of structure. Previously, two robots failed its missions. One robot got stuck in a gap while the other was abandoned after being unable to find fuel after six days of searching.

Fukushima nuclear site have for more dangerous radioactive level in the area

The recent mission discovered that there is a far more dangerous radioactive level inside the area. TEPCO worked on a new robot that can handle up to 73 sieverts of radiation. However, the measured level in the area reached 530 sieverts which surpassed the robot’s radiation tolerance.

The company admitted that the robot failures continue to hamper their plan to search the bottom of the reactor. Experts estimated 600 tons of fuel and debris could have possibly poured the reactor. Currently, the initial attempts to see the Reactor #2 using the robotic probe system have failed.

TEPCO estimated the contamination levels through the interference in the video feed of the robots. Toshiba built a new robot, meant to give TEPCO a better ability to conduct a survey on the damaged reactor. Nonetheless, the robot died five times faster than what the experts expected.

As of late, robots sent to the damaged Fukushima reactors had been dying ever since. Still, the recent failure is considered high-profile. Toshiba hardened the robot from radiation and shielded the vital parts of its mechanism. Supposedly, the new robot will solve the problem. The death of another robot meant that TEPCO had a lot more improvements and developments needed to create a robot that can withstand the radiation level of Fukushima.

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Source: The Independent, Talk Radio

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