Build Robot Korean Scientists to Fix Nuke Plants

      October 04, 2007 09:46

      Korean researchers have built a robot that can handle problems in nuclear power plants so its human operators can stay safe. The KAEROT-m3 robot can also be used in chemical plants to deal with toxic materials, so the robot has great export potential.

      It can take a whole day for a team of people to repair a small problem in a nuclear plant while avoiding being irradiated. But shutting down a nuclear power plant for a day costs W1 billion (US$1=W915).

      On Wednesday, Dr. Chung Seung-ho of the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute said his research team built KAEROT-m3 to fix problems in fuel replacement systems in Wolseong nuclear power plant after four years of research and development.

      Since the Wolseong plant uses unenriched uranium, its fuel rods need to be replaced often. Sometimes fuel rods remain stuck in fuel tanks during the replacement process -- KAEROT-m3 can detach them.

      "The fuel replacement devices stand up to 9.5 m high. KAEROT-m3 moves to the device and then extends its folded arm up to 10 m," Dr. Chung said. "The computer embedded in the robot is designed to withstand high levels of radiation."

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