News began showing up earlier this week claiming they were going to send a mech style robot to work at Fukushima Daiichi. If you are not familiar, these are a walking robotic platform with a pilot. The concept is popular among anime and futuristic sci-fi genres.
A Korean company claims a scaled down version of their mech would be put on a wheeled platform and put into use at Fukushima Daiichi. This may be more wishful thinking than actual plan.
None of the planned decommissioning work requests this type of equipment. It also would be redundant vs. existing on site equipment. It also poses a number of drawbacks that would make this type of equipment of little use.
Already on site is the medium sized robot platform MEISTeR robot that is used in the reactor buildings and includes various robotic and manipulator arms. This robot is operated remotely. The site also has a variety of remote operated heavy equipment pieces with cutters and manipulator arms. These have been used extensively to remove smaller debris from units 3 and 4.
The drawback to this mech is that it requires a pilot to be seated in the equipment while it is operating. Remote equipment has been used on site to avoid exposing workers to high levels of radiation. Seating a worker in a glass encased pod provides no shielding protection from radiation. This makes its use anywhere near the reactor buildings a negative vs. other existing equipment.
So while this all sounds very cool and futuristic it may be more of a sales ploy than reality.
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