Robot to go under water in Fukushima reactor

The Japan News/ANN

The robot was jointly developed by the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning and Toshiba Corp. The remote-controlled robot is called Mini Manbo because its motion under water resembles that of a sunfish (manbo). The robot, which measures about 13 centimeters in diameter and about 30 centimeters in length, is equipped with cameras, lights and a dosimeter. A cable connects the control unit to the robot, which swims about 3 meters per minute.

The water inside the o. 3 reactor containment vessel is about 6.3 meters deep — higher than the levels in the Nos. 1 and 2 reactor containment vessels. Some of the fuel was dislodged following the meltdown at reactor No. 3 and is believed to be under water.

IRID will deploy the robot inside the containment vessel in mid-July or later to inspect the situation in the water.

“Controlling the robot will be difficult because the interior of the containment vessel is in complete darkness. But we’ve been conducting training at a simulation facility. We have to be careful to avoid hitting any obstacles,” said Tsutomu Takeuchi, senior manager of Toshiba’s Fukushima Restoration and Fuel Cycle Project Engineering Department.