19 Janvier 2016
January 19, 2016
By HIROMI KUMAI/ Staff Writer
Toshiba Corp. gave a demonstration Jan. 18 of a remote-control crane and robot that it expects to play a crucial role in decommissioning work at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Because of the high radiation levels at the plant site, remote-control robots and other devices are the only means of removing nuclear fuel from the plant’s damaged reactors.
Toshiba said its equipment will be used at the No. 3 reactor, which went into a meltdown and was heavily damaged after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
Toshiba put its new crane and robot through their paces at its Keihin plant in Yokohama.
The crane was demonstrated to show how it can lift out nuclear fuel assemblies from the reactor’s storage pool.
The robot showed how it can remove rubble that covers the fuel and collect the fuel assemblies. The robot’s two extending arms latched onto rubble and placed it in a cart. It also showed how it can cut and remove cables that are obstacles in the damaged reactor building.
Twenty-two cameras are attached to the two pieces of remote-control equipment, and video images will be monitored in a room away from the reactor site. Operators will be able to use the images to control the equipment via a computer mouse and other controller devices after confirming the location of the remote-control equipment inside the No. 3 reactor building.
According to officials of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the Fukushima No. 1 plant, the equipment will be installed at the plant as early as this spring.
After training on-site, the removal of the spent nuclear fuel will get under way in fiscal 2017. Plans call for removing the remaining 566 fuel assemblies from the storage pool over a two-year period.