Nuclear Power

26 May 2022

Jacobs Builds Robot to Retrieve Radioactive Debris at Fukushima

26 May 2022  by   

Image credit: Jacobs

Nuclear services firm Jacobs has designed and built a robotic tool to collect information about the state of a damaged nuclear power reactor at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan.

The remotely operated robot was designed by UK-based Jacobs engineers and had to pass over 300 performance tests required by project leader Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).

A radiation-resistant prototype will now be built to retrieve contaminated debris bottom of the reactor containment vessel.

The nature of the debris is still unknown, which is why samples and data need to be collected to direct clean up efforts.

“This is a prime example of how we are combining innovative engineering and deep nuclear knowledge to help decommissioning agencies meet the challenge of transforming legacy sites into a safe end state,” said Jacobs Energy, Security & Technology Senior Vice President Karen Wiemelt.

According to Jacobs, the robot had to be small enough to enter the damaged containment vessel and pick up sand and pebbles up to 10 millimeters in size by deploying a bucket-style retrieval device.

The trials showed that no more than eight minutes will be needed to insert the device into the containment vessel and retrieve debris samples.

MHI implemented this project through the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning, supported by funding from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.


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