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Sunday, November 06, 2011

Robots inside Fukushima Meltdown Plant

iRobot PackBot at Unit 3, Fukushima 
Unique video sequences, authorized by Tokyo Electrical Company (TEPCO), have been published by Japanese Robonable showing U.S. military robots operating inside Unite 3 reactor building at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The iRobot PackBots  are preparing for the establishment of a system to reduce gas pressure in the reactor containment vessel. A similar system had been installed in Unit 1 and Unit 2 of the damaged nuclear reactor leading to reduction of emissions of radioactive material. Referring to an anonymous Japanese blogger, who has worked as one of the lead robot operators, IEEE Spectrum blog reported in August that the robots have performed remarkably well at Fukushima, even after repeated jobs in high-radiation environments, which damage electronics.
Japanese Robot Quince
The most advanced Japanese inspection robot Quince has been used since July 2011 for missions inside the reactor building. The video below shows Quince operating inside Unite 2 of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Unveiled in April 2010 by the Chiba Institute of Technology, Tohoku University, and IRS, Quince consists of a main body incorporating two wide crawler belts, and four free-moving pairs of wheels that extend like arms from the corners. Making full use of these body parts, the adeptly maneuvers its way around all kinds of terrain, from stairs to rubble.

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