March 17, 2011
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.
A science ministry official said a robot used to detect radiation levels is at the site of the accident in Fukushima, north of Tokyo, but nuclear safety agency official Hidehiko Nishiyama said: “We have no reports of any robots being used.”
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