Virginia Tech robot enters contest centered around solutions for future Fukushima-like disasters

The Roanoke Times

Posted: Friday, June 5, 2015 3:30 pm

BLACKSBURG — The nuclear disaster four years ago in Japan after a tsunami hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant limited human involvement, particularly at the start, because of the radiation involved.

But John Seminatore, who’s pursuing a doctorate in mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech, said a robot could have done the job to limit or alleviate the damage.

“It’s not a very complicated task,” he said about the actual pumping of water on reactors, something that could have helped the situation in Japan. “The thing is that robots can do things people can’t.”

Seminatore and some other Virginia Tech students are currently in Pomona, California, where they are participating in a robotics competition hosted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — the agency within the U.S. Department of Defense that is involved in developing new technologies for the military.

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Japan earthquake: Large but very deep temblor strikes offshore

CNBC
Saturday, May 30, 2015

A powerful and extremely deep earthquake struck near remote Japanese islands and shook Tokyo on Saturday, but officials said there was no danger of a tsunami, and no injuries or damage were immediately reported.

The magnitude-8.5 offshore earthquake struck off the Ogasawara islands at 8:24 p.m. at a depth of 370 miles, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.8 and a depth of 421 miles.

One day, robots may work in zones too dangerous for humans

robots

Washington Post

December 22
Dennis Hong first spied Japan’s ruined nuclear power plant from a bus wrapped in plastic. A hefty layer of protection guarded the seats, floors and handles from radioactive dust. Hong wore a face mask and gloves to limit his exposure. Like the other passengers, he had dressed in old clothes that he was willing to toss after the trip.

More than three years earlier, after an earthquake and tsunami battered Japan’s eastern coast, portions of the Fukushima Daiichi power station blew, blasting radiation into the sea and sky. Today, villages outside the plant still lie as barren as ghost towns. Along the coast, smashed buildings, flipped cars and train tracks twisted like taffy stand as reminders of the catastrophe.

>STORY

Fukushima ‘dark tourism’ aims to rebuild city

fukushima_khon2

Khon2

By WILL RIPLEY | Published: November 30, 2014

FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN (CNN) – Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster is leading to a new kind of “dark tourism.”

Almost 4 years after the meltdown forced entire towns to evacuate, tour guides are taking people through abandoned neighborhoods.

CNN finds out why one devastated town is allowing others to witness its tragedy.

The first thing people ask about is the radiation. Is it even safe to go in when most are kept out? Our local government tour guide says contamination levels are low.

They are allowing quick trips into the safer parts of Fukushima prefecture, still empty from the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. Nearly 4 years later, outsiders are getting a rare look at this desolate, abandoned place.

Damage from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami sits untouched. Crumbling buildings are falling further into disrepair. Weeds are slowly taking over.

Article

Damage worse than thought in Japanese earthquake

Yahoo News
1
1/23/14

TOKYO (AP) — The damage from an overnight earthquake in a mountainous area of central Japan that hosted the 1998 winter Olympics proved more extensive than initially thought.

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A daylight assessment Sunday found at least 50 homes destroyed in two villages, and 41 people injured across the region, including seven seriously, mostly with broken bones, officials said.

The magnitude-6.7 earthquake struck shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday west of Nagano city at a depth of 5 kilometers (3 miles), the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The agency revised the magnitude and depth from initial estimates. The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a magnitude of 6.2. Since the quake occurred inland, there was no possibility of a tsunami.

STORY

Ioyama volcano raises fears Japan’s Sendai nuclear power facility may be at risk


News.com.au

Occtober 26, 2014

FIRST it was an earthquake. Then it was a tsunami. Now Japan fears another nuclear disaster — this time because of a stirring volcano.

The Japan Times has reported a sleeping volcano next to its already damaged Sendai nuclear power facility has woken, and is beginning to shake.

The new activity comes barely a month after the sudden and unexpected eruption of Mount Ontake killed 57 hikers enjoying its until-then scenic slopes.

Volcanologists have warned that the enormous magnitude 9.0 earthquake of March 2011 may have increased the likelihood of volcanic activity throughout Japan — which sits on the “Ring of Fire” band of more than 100 volcanoes which forms the Pacific Rim.

Now the signs appear to be proving them right.

STORY

[Breaking] M6.8 hit Fukushima offshore / No update on Fukushima plant status

Fukushima Diary
At 4:22 7/12/2014 (JST), a strong earthquake of M6.8 hit Fukushima offshore.

The maximum seismic intensity was 4.

In area where Fukushima nuclear plant is located, it was 3. The epicenter was approx. 10km deep.

At this moment, no update on Fukushima plant situation has been published.

http://www.jma.go.jp/en/quake/

http://weathernews.jp/quake/