Technology of Anti-Disaster Robotics (2)

Situations that Robotics can be Utilized

Hajime Asama, Professor, the University of Tokyo

Here, we comment on the situations where the robotics can be utilized in disasters. In nuclear accidents that restrict the access of humans, there are tasks that robotics may be applied: monitoring of inside / outside of the power plant, repairing of the plant for restoration, cooling and containment of reactors, and decommission of the plant. Robotics is also applicable to tasks that must be handled in parallel to the tasks above such as restoration of surrounding environment, search of victims, and long term restoration from the disaster.

To be more specific, first, robots equipped with cameras and sensors should be deployed to monitor radiation, temperature, and water level of the places where the humans cannot reach. Also, for more complex tasks as inspection on water leakages, analysis on cause of the malfunction, water discharge, drain water collection, and repair, replacement, or installation of pumps and valves, remote controlled robot equipped with manipulators may serve as assistant of humans. For the accompanying tasks as shielding and removal of debris, transport of materials, power supply, installation of illumination, robots would serve as powerful tool. Furthermore, when decommission of the reactor is decided, robotics can be applied to tasks as removal and transport of fuel rods from the reactors.

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