Author Topic: "We can’t see inside Fukushima Daiichi because all our robots keep dying"  (Read 96 times)

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Offline shnozzola

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Tepco, the utility company tasked with overseeing cleanup and waste processing for the former Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant (Japan), hit another snag this week. Last month, we reported on new findings about Reactor #2 that showed it was far more radioactive inside than previously measured. At the time, we noted that Tepco was working on a new robot that could handle up to 73 sieverts of radiation, but the measured level of 530 sieverts vastly exceeded that tolerance.

530 sieverts is a great deal of radiation. One sievert is the maximum amount of radiation exposure NASA allows for astronauts over their entire lifetime. And it’s clear Tepco didn’t expect this problem — the company has been working on a robot it could use to directly examine the containment vessel in much greater depth, proclaiming the radiation-hardened robot would withstand a dose of 1,000 sieverts. If you assume a 73 sievert per hour dose, that gives the device nearly 14 hours of useful life. (A Japan Times report from 2012 indicates that even this much radiation is difficult to harden against).   ....At 530 sieverts, that same robot wouldn’t even last two hours, and the distortions to its cameras and capabilities would be severe.

Robots have been dying in Fukushima reactors since the disaster, but this is a higher-profile failure. The new robot Toshiba built (it’s been described as scorpion-like) was meant to solve this problem. The fact that it failed so quickly just underscores how much trouble Tepco is likely to have in further improving its design.

radiation has a well-known tendency to interfere with or destroy electronics. Gamma rays will turn wiring brittle, which is a real issue when attempting to build a mobile robot. It can also damage electronic circuits (again, this depends on the type of radiation and the materials used to construct the necessary components). Presumably Tepco and Toshiba already chose to build their robot with radiation-hardened chips and shielded the vital parts of the robot as best they could.

^  The hole below the reactor

We have guided missiles and misguided men.  ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Offline velkyn

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yeesh.   I will admit I'm more than a bit confused when it comes to how to measure radiation.  I found this: 

"There is no use in arguing with a man who can multiply anything by the square root of minus 1" - Pirates of Venus, ERB

Offline Nick

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Robot Lives Matter.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Offline Emma286

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I don't want them seriously threatening human employment! :(