Fukushima Daiichi workers clear debris by remote control
IDG News Service - Remotely controlled construction machinery rolled into the site of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant last week to help clear roads and passages of radioactive debris, the plant's operator said Monday.
The effects of the magnitude-9.0 earthquake, a tsunami estimated at around 15 meters high, and two hydrogen explosions in reactor buildings have left the Fukushima Daiichi site covered in rubble and debris, according to images released by Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO). Some of the debris has high levels of radioactivity, complicating its removal and the movement of workers around the site.
The machinery consisted of an excavator and transporter, each equipped with a remote control system. Cameras were mounted on each piece of equipment and TEPCO set an additional six cameras around areas where work would take place.
The entire operation was managed from a mobile control room where staff could watch video from the cameras and manipulate the machinery, said Hiro Hasegawa, a spokesman for the electric utility.
The clearance operation began when both units rolled into place near an debris-strewn area. The excavator, which had been fitted with a giant grabber hand, picked up debris and dropped it into a container on the back of the transporter. It took about 2 hours for this to be completed.
Once full, the excavator knocked closed the lid of the container and the transporter trundled to a temporary dump site. The Fukushima Daiichi plant, like other nuclear power plants in Japan, was built with plenty of open space so the debris can be temporarily collected together on-site, said Hasegawa.
The unloading operation took about an hour to complete, and then the cycle began again.
The remotely controlled machinery was originally developed for use in hazardous construction environments, such as those near volcanos or where landslides could occur, said a spokesman for Yoshikawa Co., which worked on the system.
The radio control system typically has a range of about 300 meters, but this time a radio relay station was used to boost the signal and allow the controllers to be up to 2 kilometers away, the Yoshikawa spokesman said.
TEPCO has also used remotely controlled drones and helicopters to get a close-up view of the reactor buildings.
On Monday, the company released a series of images and video shot a day earlier by an RQ-16 T-Hawk unmanned air vehicle. A helicopter-like remote-controlled craft that has been employed by the U.S. military in hot spots such as Afghanistan. (Video from the helicopter can be seen on YouTube.)
The images showed the wrecked tops of reactor buildings at the site, with steam rising from buildings 2 and 3.
- Disaster hits Japan's semiconductor demand
- How Japan's data centers survived the earthquake
- U.S. roboticists complete mission to Japan's tsunami-hit coast
- Renesas to restart quake-hit factory earlier than expected
- Quake leaves Sony Ericsson with shortages of flagship phones
- Robots enter Fukushima reactor building for first time
- Person Finder a personal success for one Google worker
- Conflicts, disasters could hurt PC shipments in Q2
- Fukushima Daiichi workers clear debris by remote control
- Japanese earthquake shelters getting PCs, WiMax
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- 4 Customers who never have to refresh their PCs again This paper illustrates a common theme: the combination of desktop virtualization and thin client computing helps organizations deliver an up-to-date user experience more...
- Mobile Devices: The New Thin Clients Get essential guidance for understanding the role thin clients plus virtual desktops play in the enterprise today.
- Taking Windows Mobile on Any Device Taking Windows applications mobile has many advantages, but the process of identifying a solution is complex. Learn how to solve this complex problem...
- PaaS - Powering a New Era of Business IT Why PaaS has suddenly become relevant and irresistible to many organizations. Dive into the opportunities and considerations associated with using PaaS from an...
- Redefine Your IT Operations: Remote Office IT Has Never Been Simpler Join us to see why PC Pro named Dell PowerEdge VRTX the "2013 Server of the Year." PowerEdge VRTX may be just what...
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have. All Hardware White Papers | Webcasts