Robohub.org
 

Disaster response robot will inspect the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor building

by
23 October 2012



share this:
12-0186-r

This compact explorer robot, called Sakura, being developed by the Future Robotics Technology Center (fuRo) at the Chiba Institute of Technology, is the latest in their line of disaster response robots, and has been designed so it can enter and survey the basements of the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor buildings.

“Sakura’s mission is to go into the underground levels of nuclear power plants. It’s very compact, as it has to go down stairways just 70 cm wide, and turn around on landings that are also 70 cm.”

“Coolant water is leaking from somewhere inside the reactor, because no matter how water much is pumped in, the level doesn’t stay above 60 cm. But unless that space can be filled with water, the melted-down fuel rods can’t be removed safely. So, Sakura’s first job is to find out where the cracks are.”

Sakura will use its camera to look for cracks, but as the camera can’t see everywhere, Sakura also has a directional microphone to detect the sound of water.

An additional obstacle is that the stairway below ground is steeper than that above. So, Sakura also has improved climbing performance to handle steep gradients.

“The part above ground slopes at 40 degrees, and that below ground at 42 degrees. This difference of just two degrees is very hard for a robot to handle. What’s more, Sakura has to climb down, and then climb up, to the top of the suppression pool. That stairway slopes at 53 degrees.”

To minimize the operator’s exposure to radiation, Sakura has an automatic extension and retraction device for communication cables, and a plug-in charging system. Sakura is also made from specially selected materials, with the aim of making it maintenance-free for three years.

“To make the robot radiation-hard, the previous model, Rosemary, has a 2mm aluminum plate on the bottom, but Sakura has a 5mm stainless steel plate. Radiation is expected to be high in the underground areas, so the bottom surface is designed to provide at least some shielding.”

“We’ve only just got Sakura to move, so for the next month, we’ll be testing its mobility and durability. Once that’s done, we’ll test its ability to carry the necessary equipment on a stairway. Then, we plan to fine-tune Sakura by testing it with TEPCO.”



tags: , ,


DigInfo TV is a Tokyo-based online video news platform dedicated to producing original coverage of cutting edge technology, research and products from Japan.
DigInfo TV is a Tokyo-based online video news platform dedicated to producing original coverage of cutting edge technology, research and products from Japan.





Related posts :



Tesla’s Optimus robot isn’t very impressive – but it may be a sign of better things to come

Musk has now unveiled a prototype of the robot, called Optimus, which he hopes to mass-produce and sell for less than US$20,000 (A$31,000).
04 October 2022, by

Bipedal robot achieves Guinness World Record in 100 metres

Cassie the robot, developed at Oregon State University, records the fastest 100 metres by a bipedal robot.
03 October 2022, by and

Breaking through the mucus barrier

A capsule that tunnels through mucus in the GI tract could be used to orally administer large protein drugs such as insulin.
02 October 2022, by

Women in Tech leadership resources from IMTS 2022

There’ve been quite a few events recently focusing on Women in Robotics, Women in Manufacturing, Women in 3D Printing, in Engineering, and in Tech Leadership. One of the largest tradeshows in the US is IMTS 2022. Here I bring you some resources shared in the curated technical content and leadership sessions.
29 September 2022, by and

MIT engineers build a battery-free, wireless underwater camera

The device could help scientists explore unknown regions of the ocean, track pollution, or monitor the effects of climate change.
27 September 2022, by

How do we control robots on the moon?

In the future, we imagine that teams of robots will explore and develop the surface of nearby planets, moons and asteroids - taking samples, building structures, deploying instruments.
25 September 2022, by , and





©2021 - ROBOTS Association


 












©2021 - ROBOTS Association