Saturday, February 16, 2013
Toshiba Unveils Remote-Control Robot For Decontamination
TOKYO (Nikkei)--Toshiba Corp. (6502) on Friday took the wraps off a remotely operated cleaning robot developed for decontamination work inside the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The robot blasts the contaminated floors and walls with a high-pressure stream of dry ice particles, jetted from a movable arm, while at the same time operating a vacuum apparatus to suck the radioactive materials up and away.
Starting Monday the robot will be tested inside the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant to identify and correct problems, and it could begin actual decontamination work inside the Fukushima Daiichi facility as early as this summer.
Toshiba developed the robot in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and designed the system after considering more than 150 different decontamination technologies received by the government following a public call for ideas last year.
Toshiba compared and reviewed the technologies and chose those that were best suited for decontamination of areas where radioactive materials have settled or of now-dry surfaces once exposed to contaminated water.
The pressurized stream of dry ice particles cleans both with the force of the blast and with the expansive forces generated when the solid dry ice sublimates into carbon dioxide gas.
(The Nikkei, Feb. 16 morning edition)