Japanese firm Toshiba has developed a small robot in co-ordination with the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID) to explore interiors of the primary containment vessel (PCV) at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Deployment of the robot will be carried out at the facility’s Unit 2, which had been affected severely following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The robot is 54cm long and 9cm high and wide. It will allow remote operations through a wired cable.

The machine features two cameras, LED lights, a radiation dosimeter and a thermometer and will enter the PCV of the nuclear unit through a pipe, which is approximately 10cm in diameter.

"The robot features two cameras, LED lights, a radiation dosimeter and a thermometer."

On entering the PCV, it will allow the operators to take a video of the interior with the help of cameras and LEDs attached to both front and rear portion of the robot.

The video will enable detection of location and positioning of potential fallen objects inside. It will also reveal details about the conditions along the access routes to the PCV base. These operations will be done prior to a full investigation around the PCV base.

The Japanese developer deems it necessary to understand the distribution of the fuel debris inside the nuclear unit before it proceeds with planning procedures and methodologies for their removal.

It intends to start training the robot operators from this month, prior to the deployment of the robots at the site by August end.

Image: The 54cm long robot will feature two cameras and LED lights. Photo: courtesy of Toshiba Corporation.