Robots sent into Fukushima reactor building, ahead of workers

by Shalu Pillai

A pair of remote controlled robots stepped into a reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Sunday morning for the first time. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power is hoping the iRobot Packbots will be able to provide data on the current condition inside the buildings and find out dangerous radioactivity zones that are hazardous for workers. The robots are equipped with video cameras that will provide live feed to operators. Photos released by Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) showed the robots manipulating a handle on the second of a pair of double doors that lead into the reactor building. If the mission proves a success, the robots will also be used inside the adjacent reactor buildings 1 and 2 at the plant. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has suffered since the tsunami damaging its cooling system. Subsequent explosions have damaged three of the reactor buildings and spread radioactive contamination into the surrounding environment.

These iRobot Packbots are designed for use in such hazardous environments. Here’s hoping they do a clean job of it.