Robot to probe damage at Japan nuclear plant

Dhaka,  Fri,  21 July 2017
Published : 15 Jun 2017, 16:35:06
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Robot to probe damage at Japan nuclear plant

A Japanese industrial group unveiled Thursday a swimming robot designed for underwater probes of damage from meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Remote controlled robots are key to the decades-long decommissioning process for the plant. But super-high radiation and structural damage inside the reactors hampered earlier attempts to inspect areas close to the reactors' cores, says an AP report.

The developers say they plan to send the probe into the primary containment vessel of Unit 3 at Fukushima in July to study the extent of damage and locate parts of melted fuel thought to have fallen to the bottom of the chamber, submerged by highly radioactive water.

The robot, nicknamed the "mini manbo," or little sunfish, is about the size of a loaf of bread. It is equipped with lights, maneuvers with tail propellers and collects data using two cameras and a dosimeter.

During Thursday's demonstration at a test facility near Tokyo, the probe slowly slid down from a rail and moved across the water. A team operated it remotely, with one guiding the robot while another adjusted a cable that transmits data and serves as its lifeline. 

Officials hope the probe can swim deep into the reactor to illuminate the area underneath the reactor's core.

 
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