This is How Robots are Mapping Radiation at Fukushima

By Jamie Condliffe on at

Deep within the abandoned shell of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, it's too dangerous for humans to investigate—so it's being inspected by robots instead.

New Scientist reports that two new robots, called Rosemary and Sakura, are exploring the depths of the site. It hasn't all gone smoothly: one robot sent in earlier this month got stuck and had to be abandoned during its first mission. But Tokyo Electric Power Company Incorporated—the organisation that runs the plant—have higher hopes for Rosemary and Sakura.

The magazine explains that the new robots, developed by the Chiba Institute of Technology, can "climb 45 degree slopes and use gyroscopes and other sensors to navigate inside buildings without the need for GPS." They're also equipped with newly designed lightweight gamma cameras that can detect radiation, tying it together with 3D laser scans to create maps of radiation around the plant. You can see it in action above.

It's hoped that the results will provide information allowing those working on the site to safely sure-up and dismantle the plant. Let's hope Rose and Sak don't get stuck. [New Scientist]