Eye-opening blog of Fukushima robot operator taken offline
Aug. 23, 2011 (5:29 pm) By: Matthew Humphries
The days of seeing Japan in the news because of the earthquake and subsequent disaster are long over as attention has turned to more recent problems around the globe, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t big challenges remaining in the country. There’s still the case of the Fukushima nuclear power plant and four unstable reactors to deal with.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), which owns the Fukushima plant, is attempting to get things back to normal by using military robots provided by U.S. company iRobot. Due to the lack of communications in the area of the plant, these robots are being operated by individuals who are put in danger every day close by the reactors as they go about their clean-up tasks.
One of those operators decided to write a blog talking about his work, and it has proved very telling and informative about both the conditions at the plant and the robots themselves.
Working conditions are less than perfect. Long hours, ignored warnings, and the link to the robots during crucial clean-up work being put in jeopardy due to stupid decisions are all touched upon. We also get to learn about the limitations and advantages of each robot in this rather unique situation.