Swedish Robots Cleanup Japan's Nuclear Plant
Swedish company Husqvarna recently sold its best remote-controlled demolition robots to Japan's Takenaka Construction to help cleanup one of Fukushima's nuclear power plant leaks, saving workers from radiation exposure. Specially designed to adapt to the demanding environment, the bigger DXR 310 model includes a video camera and transmission equipment to enabling operators to work from a safe distance.
Although others have been sold to Japan since March, most commercial robots are expensive and not designed for the harsh kind of environment. Max Lungarella, a roboticist at the Artificial Intelligence Lab at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, told MIT back in March that robots typically have sensors that are not well protected from radiation, adding that it would be difficult to construct models that could.
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Five months later, a Swedish construction company believes it has constructed robots equipped to handle the cleanup. “Our robots are well adapted to this environment. They are powerful, reliable and easy to manoeuvre, even in narrow spaces. They will perform important work at the plant for a long time to come,” says Anders Stroby, Head of Husqvarna Construction in this month's press release.
Husqvarna Construction demolition robot DXR 310, DXR 250 and DXR 140 in action:
Husqvarna's heavy-duty robots will be used in heavy demolition work and are built to handle the high levels of radiation in Fukushima, expected to take many years to fully cleanup. The chosen supplier has high expectations and will hopefully meet the demands of Japanese construction workers to help save Japan.