JAPAN ATOMIC INDUSTRIAL FORUM, INC.

for Japanese

ATOMS in JAPAN

26 December, 2018

Students Battle in Contest of Robots to Remove Fuel Debris

On December 15, sixteen teams competed in the third Robot Contest (Hairo Sozo Robocon) for students at Japanese colleges of technology (kosen), held at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Naraha Remote Technology Development Center in Naraha Town, Fukushima Prefecture. It was sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Council for Cooperation among Colleges of Technology on Decommissioning Human Resource Development.

The first-prize winner, “Can D I” from NNCT, was equipped with a radiation-resistant hydraulic drive unit made by the team.

The Robot Contest has been staged every year to heighten people’s interest in the decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants. This year, a difficult theme was chosen in anticipation of removal of fuel debris from the plants, and all teams found it quite challenging.

The robot “Can D I,” belonging to a team from the National Institute of Technology, Nagaoka College (NITNC), performed exceptionally and came away with the first prize, the MEXT Minister’s Award. A foreign team—from the University of Technology Malaysia (UTM)—officially participated in the contest for the first time.

At the start of the contest, representing the sponsor, President Osamu Yamashita of the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Fukushima College—who also presides over the Council for Cooperation among Colleges of Technology on Decommissioning Human Resource Development—told the students, “Exert your creativity, identifying critical points, resolving the issues, refining your capabilities, and achieving results.”

He especially welcomed the participation by the Malaysian team, voicing his hope hoped that the contest would become a place where common challenges could be taken up internationally.

Next, Upper House Diet Member Teruhiko Mashiko, who belongs to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and comes from Fukushima Prefecture, expressed his expectations that the students would work in the field in the future. Talking about back-end issues overseas, he referred to his experiences visiting the Zion NPPs (PWRs) in Illinois (United States) and the Sellafield MOX Plant (SMP) in the UK.

“There is need,” Mashiko said, “to input an array of technological resources for such things as final disposal sites, and there are bound to be many difficulties ahead. I hope that all of you contribute to the cause of decommissioning around the world.”

Pedestal . . . the field of play (mock-up)

The theme of the contest was removing fuel debris from the lower part of a pedestal (representing an open space under a reactor pressure vessel). With only ten minutes to finish the task, the teams were required to have their robots pass through a pipe (4m long, 240mm inner diameter), land on a grating on the mock-up pedestal, retrieve a ball 3.2m below, and move it outside the pedestal.

 

Further site-related conditions were as follows:

  • The robot had to be operated by remote control and not be viewable directly.
  • Radio waves could not penetrate the thick concrete walls.

All teams struggled to succeed. Typically, their robots found it impossible to get through the pipe. And even if the robots did get through, the means for retrieving the ball often detached inside the pedestal, making it inoperable.

After the competition, Director Koji Okamoto of the Collaborative Laboratories for Advanced Decommissioning Science Center (left) watches a demonstration of a robot.

In his closing address, President Tetsuji Chohji of the National Institute of Technology(NIT), Kagoshima College, who led the Robot Contest Executive Committee, praised the students for their efforts and determination. He told them, “The decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi NPPs will take a very long time, continuing into your generation. Now is just the beginning.” He said that the contest would lead to solutions to difficult problems.

Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

SNS facebooktwitter

NPPs Map

Video

Grossi on Fukushima: Marking a Decade Since the Accident

10 March, 2021
Grossi on Fukushima: Marking a Decade Since the Accident04:11

Recent News

18 November, 2021
METI Minister Speaks to IAEA International Conference on Decade of Progress Since Fukushima Daiichi Accident
15 November, 2021
Nuclear Energy’s Contribution to Achieving SDGs
8 November, 2021
COP26: Prime Minister Kishida Announces Additional Contribution of USD10 Billion for Climate Change Measures
30 October, 2021
Reelection of Suttsu Mayor Means Literature Investigation for HLW Disposal Will Continue
21 October, 2021
Kishida Makes First Visit to Fukushima Since Becoming Prime Minister
15 October, 2021
LDP Adds SMR Development and Nuclear Fusion to NPP Restarts in Its Policy Manifesto
7 October, 2021
Kishida Administration Inaugurated, with New METI Minister Hagiuda Holding Press Conference on Taking Office
6 October, 2021
IAEA Holds 65th General Conference in Vienna, with Japanese Minister of State for Science and Technology Delivering Statement in the General Debate
30 September, 2021
JAEC Releases 2020 White Paper on Nuclear Energy
17 September, 2021
NRA Permits Shimane-2 under New Regulatory Standards
14 September, 2021
IAEA Deputy Director General Evrard Visits Japan in Advance of Safety Review of ALPS-treated Water
1 September, 2021
Evaluation Report Issued by IAEA’s Review Mission to Fukushima Daiichi: First Visit since 2018
24 August, 2021
METI and IAEA Agree on Further Review Missions to Fukushima Daiichi
4 August, 2021
JAEA Restarts High-Temperature Engineering Test Reactor “HTTR”
2 August, 2021
Information about Fukushima Daiichi NPS Water Treatment
28 July, 2021
METI’s Committee Shows Rough Draft of Next Strategic Energy Plan
2 July, 2021
Mihama-3 Restarted After Decade-long Hiatus: First Restart in Japan of a Reactor Operating Beyond 40 Years
28 June, 2021
Mihama-3 Restarts after Decade-long Hiatus
25 June, 2021
New Canada-Japan Partnership Supports Greater Collaboration to Meet Climate Change Objectives and Net-zero Goals
24 June, 2021
METI Issues New Green Growth Strategy Through Achieving Carbon Neutrality
▲TOP