6 Mars 2012
New robot to explore damaged nuclear plants
A Japanese firm has developed a robot that can efficiently explore highly radioactive reactor buildings.
Tokyo-based Topy Industries developed the robot at the request of Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Topy Industries makes rescue robots for fire disaster sites.
The 50-centimeter-long robot is more compact and mobile than the one currently used at the plant, and has five cameras and a dosimeter that can continually monitor radiation levels.
The robot has a compact body that enables it to move on stairway landings that are only about 70 centimeters wide, and can maneuver on steep stairs.
It can also move through about three centimeters of water and work under dripping water.
The robot's developer, Shingo Tsukui, says he hopes it will help reduce plant workers' radiation exposure.