Why human not machines to enter the radioactive zone in Japan?


Jul 23, 2005
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#1
Just wonder, Japan did so much R&D on robots and with today's technology, why they still have to send human to survey the radioactivity affected zone iso machines (robots or remote control vehicles) to do the job.

One possibility I can think of is malfunctioning of electronics (like soft errors with memory chips). But then, aren't there ways to clad the vehicles? I heard electronics / ICs in certain jet fighters can survive the radiation of a nuclear blast so i suppose the technology is available. Even if the machine will be contaminated or 'die' in the field so be it. Yes building this machine will be expensive but a human life worth a lot more.

Please enlighten.

ps Please don't OT. Thanks.
 

kei1309

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Apr 12, 2010
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#2
because they spent too much time perfecting "sexbots" that they forgot about...the T800, and other terminators..
 

edutilos-

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Dec 28, 2010
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#3
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/new...reactor-remedies/story-e6frg6so-1226031245526
http://au.news.yahoo.com/tech-news/...bot-power-everywhere-except-at-nuclear-plant/
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/29/japan-nuclear-plant-us-robots

You would have to use a robot that is catered to do what it can do. Robots to this day are not multi-purpose, they tend to be designed to carry out a specific task, or a series of tasks. I don't think there is a huge demand for "nuclear disaster robots", so I doubt many nuclear plants have robots ready on stand-by to start performing these tasks. If you try to use a robot designed for another purpose, it may not be efficient. Time was of essence in handling the first few days after the disaster started - I don't think anyone will be happy to see Japan fiddling around trying to get their violin-playing robots to spray water into those buildings...

I think now, when time is no longer such a dominant factor, they can start deploying that sort of robot. US is sending some, as highlighted in one of the links above.
 

Jul 23, 2005
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#5
Thanks for sharing the links. They answered my question. Extracted from the above url:
"The PackBots and Warriors can be operated from over 2,000 feet away and could be used in tasks like hauling hoses to help fight fires and measuring radiation levels."
Basically the technology exists but they did not have them handy.

Indeed I was not thinking about general purpose robots, rather simpler machines that can be remote controlled / carried a specific task.
It seems from the articles, it boils down to the facts that i) there are always unknown situation hence no pre-determined solution (thus cannot build machines for this unknown purpose), ii) reluctance to 'open the can of worms' and prepare for such scenarios. For (i), it is fair we cannot pre-empt everything and I can appreciate it.

I do not agree to you statement that 'I don't think there is a huge demand for "nuclear disaster robots"' in the sense that nuclear plants are not a commodity and hence should not be measured by 'demand'. Safety is not an option. Or did you mean there is no regulations or not required by law/authorities to purchase / install these machines?
 

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kei1309

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#6
Japan/TEPCO already admitted having inadequate enough safety measures for the Nuclear Power Plant sites. i suppose (assuming) that they were supposed to have it, but chose the cheaper way out.
 

Rashkae

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Nov 28, 2005
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#7
There was immediate criticism about the lack of robotic equipment on-site. I think everyone was shocked that the Japanese didn't have the robots ready.

The USA has just sent them some robots to help.
 

edutilos-

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#8
I do not agree to you statement that 'I don't think there is a huge demand for "nuclear disaster robots"' in the sense that nuclear plants are not a commodity and hence should not be measured by 'demand'. Safety is not an option. Or did you mean there is no regulations or not required by law/authorities to purchase / install these machines?
Well, no one thinks that such things will happen. After all, the nuclear plant withstood the earthquake, just that the tsunami gave them a lot more than what they bargained for..
 

brapodam

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Jun 12, 2009
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#9
Well, no one thinks that such things will happen. After all, the nuclear plant withstood the earthquake, just that the tsunami gave them a lot more than what they bargained for..
I doubt they bargained for a disaster to happen, but I get your point. Sometimes, it is just not possible to prepare for such things. It's not easy to have a plan for everything.
 

Jul 23, 2005
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#11
Well, no one thinks that such things will happen. After all, the nuclear plant withstood the earthquake, just that the tsunami gave them a lot more than what they bargained for..
Indeed the combo of earthquake + tsunami caught them off guard.

Regarding the bots, the French and American did think about it.

Thanks everyone for all info, BTW.
 

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shiruikage

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Oct 30, 2007
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#12
the plant withstood a magnitude 9 earthquake and just shrugs. it would've withstood a massive tsunami as well if not for one tiny error in calculation: the backup generator for the cooling system is not designed to deal with a 10m high wave. the main reactor building itself is quite sturdy, it's just the supporting system's that jammed up. where's astroboy when u need him...
 

#14
to think that Japan has the most advance technology in robotics...
No doubt but the Japanese main focus is R&D on autonomous humanoid robots not unmanned vehicles primarily designed for use in the defence industries.

Do you expect them to send Asimos or Actroid and HRP-4C to the nuclear power plant? :bsmilie:


[vid]VTlV0Y5yAww[/vid]
YouTube Video ID No. VTLV0Y5YAWW


"I'm not taking radiation readings, OK?"


Arghhh, the freakish effect of uncanny valley.
 

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#15
Interestingly the Japanese have two prototype Search and Rescue (SAR) "HyperRescueRobots", the five ton T-52 Enryu with a height of 3.45 meters and the smaller T-53 Enryu with interchangeable attachment arms specially designed for disaster relief operations though there are no news of their current status.

Ultimately it seems unmanned bobcat skid loaders fitted with the Qinetiq Robotic Control Kit (RoCK) and just recently deployed to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station remains the most practical option as an alternative at this time.







 

roamfree

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Dec 14, 2010
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#16
it has been reported that the use of robots have of course been in consideration, but it does not means that robots = sure can use. It must be pointed out that the nuclear plant and the surrounding area did suffer damage from the quake and the tsunami. Not to forget that there are explosion/fire within the plant. cos of the amount of debris from all these damage, TEPCO was not able to deploy robots. there was no way the robots could manoeuvre themselves so cleverly through all the debris. imagine a robot clearing a SOC??
 

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