IRID has announced ongoing testing work on four new robots to be used to inspect inside reactors at Fukushima Daiichi. The purpose of the robots, developed with IHI and Toshiba is to assist in determining how the containment vessels are leaking with the focus being on leaks into the torus room.
SC-ROV will be used to inspect the outer surface of the torus tube (suppression chamber). It is able to stick to the metal pipe of the torus tube and traverse the underside looking for holes under water.
VT-ROV will be used to inspect the area between the containment concrete and the downcomer vent pipe. This small area is one place that is highly likely to have damage and leaking but is incredibly hard to see into due to the tight space.
DL-ROV is designed specifically to investigate water leaking from the sand pocket drain pipes. IRID plans to use a tracer in water to see if it can be detected out the sand pocket drain pipe.
The Manipulator can be used to inspect various areas within the torus chamber.
All of these robots seem similar to others being announced or used at Daiichi. It appears that there is some overlap being allowed in technology development along with a few other robots that are more highly specialized. Seeing this work come out of IRID is part of the evolution of oversight and response to the disaster as TEPCO takes a less direct role.
IRID Report: http://irid.or.jp/research/20140516/
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