Rescue Robots and Nuclear Emergencies: Avoiding the Risk to Human Life
The UK-based engineering company Forth successfully tested robots that are able to withstand hazardous environments caused by nuclear emergency situations. This way, the harm and danger to workers at nuclear sites will be eliminated, and costs will be decreased. The Rescue Robot is remotely operated by a control center from a safe distance (up to 150 meters) and was tested at the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria, UK, which is currently primarily used for nuclear radioactive waste processing and nuclear decommissioning.
The Rescue Robot is built on a 1.6-tonne JCP compactor excavator platform and is equipped with complex robotic systems, in addition to tools and technology such as cameras, lights, and wireless technology, which is able to bear up against harsh environments.
As said by Mark Telford, the company’s Managing Director, “The Rescue Robot is a pioneering development which has already been successfully tested in hazardous environments, and it has been manufactured to offer a safe, remotely operated alternative to sending humans into disaster zones,”, adding that “By working with Sellafield Ltd, we were able to prove the machine is able to withstand some particularly dangerous conditions, and its various adaptations and capabilities mean that this will be a real asset to the UK’s nuclear industry.”
Moreover, further adaptations and modifications to the robot are possible in terms of size and requirements. As commented by Telford, “The Rescue Robot has been designed so it can easily be adapted to fit whatever requirements are needed,” adding that, “Sellafield Ltd required the development of a 1.6-tonne robot, but we are able to adapt the product to any size and also fit it with any type of tools or end effectors to fit the nature of the project.”
The Rescue Robot is now part of the Sellafield nuclear site, meaning that it is able to answer emergency situations at the site. It was also concluded that this site is the perfect testing opportunity for this type of technology. The company is looking forward to launching the robot to other nuclear facilities across the UK as well.