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New robots can safely decommission nuclear reactors

from Futurism

Typically, the robots that handle nuclear waste, like the one sent into the Fukushima reactor after it was destroyed by a tsunami, need to be remote-controlled every step of the way. A new robot, described in research published in the journal Robotics, can handle some things on its own — like detecting, grabbing and cutting apart objects in its video feed. "The standard within nuclear decommissioning is for direct human-controlled remote tele-operation of robots, which is extremely difficult for the operators particularly given the complexity of nuclear decommissioning tasks," James Taylor, the Lancaster University engineer behind the robot, said. "Fully autonomous solutions are unlikely to be deemed safe in the near future and so we have explored creating a semi-autonomous solution that sits between the two." more

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