Toshiba has unveiled a remote controlled robot that will be used to remove fuel-rod assemblies from the spent fuel pool in the reactor 3 building at the Fukushima no. 1 nuclear plant. The robot will begin the work of removing 566 fuel rod assemblies in fiscal 2017. Toshiba was the company that built reactor 3 and recently gave a demonstration of the remote-control crane-like device.
Tokyo Electric Power Co says that it is working to reduce radiation levels in the reactor 3 building, but that radiation levels are still too high for humans to monitor the removal of fuel rods. That fact led Toshiba to the creation of the robot to remove debris and rods from the cooling pool.
The robot is made of two parts with a pair of robotic arms that can pick up and cut debris and another arm that can grab the assemblies. Along with the robotic arms, the device is also equipped with multiple cameras to make it easier for workers to see from multiple angles and control the robot from a distance.
Tepco hopes to eventually bring radiation levels in the reactor 3 building to 1 millisievert per hour. That radiation level is still too high for humans to work at the site. Tepco previously removed 1,535 spent fuel rod assemblies for the cooling pool in the reactor 4 building. In that case, the radiation levels were low enough to allow workers to supervise the removal process directly. Training on the use of the robotic device will begin next year.
SOURCE: Japan Times