Over time nuclear plants become unusable, and after about 60 years after starting their units require decommissioning. At the moment in the world in various stages of dismantling, there are about 138 nuclear units, and this long, costly and responsible work in hazardous conditions is mainly carried out using remote robots. They have their flaws, but engineers from Lancaster University have eliminated one of them by means of a system of semiautomatic control.
One of the main disadvantages of robots for the withdrawal of nuclear power plants out of operation is the high complexity of the control. Not to expose yourself to radiation, the staff is forced to manipulate the robot’s arm at a distance of not less than 100 meters, focusing on data from built-in cameras. To control the commonly used joysticks, and to learn to exercise precise movement mechanism, the operators have extremely high qualifications.
Robot taught to defuse a nuclear power plant
Robot created at the University of Lancaster, is much easy to manage, as most of the actions performs by yourself. As the work with radioactive substances requires the utmost accuracy, the developers deliberately made it completely Autonomous for the quality of the dismantling continued to meet people, but in this case he does not need to monitor every movement of the robot.
The design of the new robot includes hydraulic arms, mechanical arms, camera with object recognition and motion sensor Microsoft Kinect. Thanks to this set, the robot can cut the pipes on their own — a man is enough to click on the object on display, to be handled by a robot.
Using a single application installed on the robot camera, our system focuses on the General problem in harsh environments. It allows the operator to instruct the robotic arm to capture and cutting of pipes using only four mouse clicks, explained James Taylor, Professor in the engineering Department of the University of Lancaster.
Semi-Autonomous system was tested in laboratory conditions — using his staff coped with the harsh of tubes much faster than their counterparts with fully controllable robots. According to engineers, at the moment, the system needs to sound transducers and temperature to control the staff was better informed about the surrounding robot environment. To illustrate the various indicators, the developers plan to create a graphical interface.
How robots help to neutralize the nuclear reactors?
A great contribution to the decontamination of nuclear reactors, robots made in 2011, after the accident at the nuclear power plant Fukushima-1. The cause of the accident was a strong earthquake and ensuing tsunami, they brought down the means of power supply diesel generators. Subsequently, the reactor core melted, and the three power units came the explosions. The accident claimed the lives of three people, two of whom drowned in the basement, and one died of cancer caused by severe radiation.
For scouting radioactive areas were used PackBot robots, which a few hours managed to visit all three blocks. They successfully measured the level of radiation, temperature and humidity alarm the zone, and broadcast everything that happens on the screen of the researchers (in the video below). During the subsequent intelligence robots faced obstacles in the form of debris, so in 2016 was developed by the robot to eliminate blockages.
One of the most terrible catastrophes in modern history has fundamentally changed Japanese robotics. How does it affect such a huge industry, you can read in our special article.
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