Thursday, March 17, 2011

Reuters: Why no Robots in Japan's Nuke Facility?

[Cross-posted at ST-AIRC Blog)

Reuters is running a story wondering why Japan -- where robots are used much more extensively then in the US -- no robots are available to help solve the nuclear emergency at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

Japan a Robot Power Everywhere Except at Nuclear Plant
By Jon Herskovitz

TOKYO, March 17 (Reuters) - Japan may build robots to play the violin, run marathons and preside over weddings, but it has not deployed any of the machines to help repair its crippled reactors.

While robots are commonplace in the nuclear power industry, with EU engineers building one that can climb walls through radioactive fields, the electric power company running Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi plant has not deployed any for the nuclear emergency.

Instead, its skeleton team has been given the unenviable and perhaps deadly task of cooling reactors and spent nuclear fuel on their own, only taking breaks to avoid over-exposure...

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