Multi-functional Robot Tested at Fukushima Nuclear Plant

Feb 21, 2014
Kenichi Takata, Nikkei Monozukuri
The robot sucking pollutants at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Reactor 1)
The robot sucking pollutants at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Reactor 1)
[ If it clicks, the expanded picture will open ]
The robot collecting concrete samples at MHI
The robot collecting concrete samples at MHI
[ If it clicks, the expanded picture will open ]

Tokyo Electric Power Company Inc (TEPCO) remotely controlled a robot to carry out operations at its Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

The robot is the "MHI-MEISTeR," which is manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Ltd. TEPCO conducted a field test by using the robot for decontamination and sampling of concrete. The test was started at the end of January 2014 and completed this time.

Thus far, robots for disaster control have been used mainly for check-ups and monitoring with their cameras. On the other hand, the new robot has two seven-jointed arms. And various tools are attached to the tip of each arm so that the robot can perform complicated operations.

In the sampling operation in the nuclear plant, MHI's own rotating tool attached to the tip of the robot's arm was used to collect about 70mm-thick cylindrical samples of concrete wall, floor, etc. By analyzing those samples, it becomes possible to know how much the concrete is polluted in the thickness direction.

In addition, TEPCO used the special nozzle of the robot for sucking pollutants and scraped off polluted surfaces by ejecting abrasive materials. The company plans to continue the decontamination and sampling in the plant.