‘Scorpion’ robot fails in Fukushima-reactor search

By Cheryl Chumley


The “scorpion” robot is designed to withstand up to 1,000 sieverts of radiation.

A robot sent into a Japanese nuclear reactor plant to help determine the reasons for, and extent of, a meltdown that occurred during a March 2011 tsunami saw its mission come to a sudden halt after debris – or radiation – blocked its progression.

The robot, dubbed a “scorpion” for its ability to lift its camera-equipped tail to provide the best views, is supposedly designed to climb rubble and treacherous grounds.

But debris at the Fukushima plant proved too much for the 24-inch robot to overcome.

Phys.Org suggested radiation at the site could’ve been a factor in halting the robot, as well.

“It’s not immediately clear if that’s because of radiation or obstacles,” said a spokesperson with the robot’s manufacturer, Toshiba.

The robot was supposed to crawl through the heart of a site in the reactor beneath a pressure vessel through which nuclear fuel is thought to have melted and pooled. But it never made it to its final destination.

It’s not clear when or if a new robot will be dispatched to the area. Currently, researchers are sifting through the information the “scorpion” was able to collect, to see if anything’s useful.

Get the hottest, most important news stories on the Internet – delivered FREE to your inbox as soon as they break! Take just 30 seconds and sign up for WND’s Email News Alerts!

Japanese officials are still reeling from the March 11, 2011, tsunami that rocked its northeast coast. Not only did the storm leave 18,000-plus dead or missing, it also caused meltdowns at three reactors.

The costs of repairs and rebuilds could hit at $189 billion, the Japanese government estimated last December. And they’ll likely take more than a decade to finish. Part of the reason for the slow rebuild is Click to see the original article