The first batch of nuclear emergency response robots, designed to guarantee the safety of nuclear power plants have been unveiled and already deployed.
Four nuclear emergency response robots, designed by China General Nuclear Power Corporation and the Institute of Optics and Electronics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have been deployed at Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant in southern China’s Guangdong province since last November.
The robots are responsible for both land and underwater missions, including salvaging and observations.
According to Feng Chang, a leader of the research and development team for the robots, they are able to withstand temperatures of up to 65 degrees Celsius and nuclear radiation at up to 10,000 Sv per hour.
They are not only built from a radiation-resistant material, each robot’s structure is carefully planned to ensure that it is radiation-proof as a whole.
Each robot is equipped with the best radiation-resistant camera in the world.
In a work environment with nuclear radiation of 10,000 Sv per hour, the robots can still send images at 600 lines per inch.
Nuclear emergency robots
As the Fukushima crisis unfolded, the Japanese government sent a request for robots developed by the U.S. military. The robots went into the plants and took pictures to help assess the situation, but they couldn’t perform the full range of tasks usually carried out by human workers. The Fukushima disaster illustrated that robots lacked sufficient dexterity and robustness to perform critical tasks.
In response to this shortcoming, a series of competitions were hosted by DARPA to accelerate the development of humanoid robots that could supplement relief efforts. Eventually a wide variety of specially designed robots were employed, but as of early 2016 three of them had promptly become non-functional due to the intensity of the radioactivity; one was destroyed within a day.
Robots are designed to respond to natural catastrophes (earthquakes, landslides, etc.) or work in buildings which have been damaged following explosions (gas, for example), terrorist or biochemical attacks.