Japanese plan to use robotic exoskeletons for dismantling nuclear power plants

The authorities of the Japanese prefecture of Fukui, in which several nuclear power plants are located, whose dismantling will take place in the coming years, intend to provide workers involved in the analysis of nuclear power plants with robotic exoskeletons.

Wearing over protective suits, they will facilitate physical work and help people to finish work quickly and leave potentially dangerous territories. The creation of the exoskeleton prototype was undertaken by AtounInc., A subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation.

The new exoskeleton will be developed by 2020 with the use of technologies and structures involved in the existing model of the AtonModelAs. It is reported that the new model of the exoskeleton will be adapted to safe use in conditions of increased radiation background.

The AtounModelAs model was initially developed for use in “peaceful purposes” – mainly by industrial companies, whose activities are related to the sorting and transportation of a large number of various goods (warehouses, carriers, etc.). The special design of the exoskeleton facilitates the load on the lower back and the hands of the loaders. It literally built a third “hand”, divided into two parts at the level of the human shoulders. A strong belt and a glove are attached to each of them. Putting them on their hands, a person can “give” part of the weight of the load to the exoskeleton.

In the coming years, in the Japanese Fukui Prefecture alone, it is planned to dismantle the first and second reactors of the Mihama NPP of KansaiElectricPowerCo and the first reactor of Tsuruga NPP of JapanAtomicPowerCo. Despite the fact that the most difficult tasks will be taken over by the machines, people will also be involved in part of the work. Using exoskeletons in combination with protective suits will help to reduce the risks for their health to the minimum.

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