The tsunami and earthquake that hit Japan in March earlier this year sparked panic in that part of the world, especially when three of the half dozen nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan experienced a meltdown. This caused renewed interest over the condition of nuclear power plants, where researchers and companies worldwide are looking for a better way to monitor the condition of nuclear reactors so that in the event of an emergency, said reactors can be cooled down in time to prevent a meltdown.
Since humans cannot be exposed to radioactivity for prolonged periods of time without being harmed or getting contaminated, why not send in robots instead? After all, robots don’t tire, and they certainly won’t cause a picket line in a strike. Sending a round robot through the cooling pipes which are located underground for damage seems to be the smart thing to do.
Developed by Harry Asada, a mechanical engineer from MIT, this robot lacks any propellers, fins, or rudders. It will push itself forward using a system of Y-shaped valves which will rely on the force of the water moving through the reactor pipes in order to propel the robot along.
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