New robots for Japan nuclear plant*
Tokyo - The operator of Japan's damaged nuclear station has said it would deploy two kinds of remote-controlled robots to help stabilise the plant while reducing workers' exposure to radiation, news reports said on Friday.
Tokyo Electric Power Co, which runs the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, said they would introduce the new robots in early May.
Two Talon model robots developed by Britain's QinetiQ Group Plc, and one Quince model, developed jointly by the Chiba Institute of Technology and Tohoku University, were to be deployed.
The plant was damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and has been leaking radioactive material ever since. High levels of radiation in reactor building have prevented workers from restoring key cooling functions.
The Talons, provided by the US Department of Energy, are equipped with gamma-radiation-detecting cameras as well as GPS (Global Positioning System) technology, the Nikkei business daily said. The Talon is currently deployed in Afghanistan.
The operator will be use them to measure radiation levels within and around reactor facilities and produce contamination maps of their interiors.
The Quince is designed to handle rough terrain, and will operate the truck-mounted pump spraying water into the spent-fuel storage pools, the daily said.
The new robots will join two US-made robots which have been deployed since mid April to monitor radiation levels, temperatures, humidity and oxygen density in the buildings.