Fukushima’s Second Anniversary…
Two years ago the international robot dorkosphere was stunned when, in the aftermath of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster, there were no domestically produced robots in Japan ready to jump into the death-to-all-mammals radiation contamination situation at the down-melting Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
…and Japan is Hard at Work.
Suffice it to say, when Japan finds out its robots aren’t good enough – JAPAN RESPONDS! For more on how Japan has and is addressing the situation, have a jump on over to AkihabaraNews.com.
Full disclosure, the piece linked here was indeed written by the technosmartastic admiral of Anthrobotic.com, whose 7-8 regular readers might be alarmed at the article’s lack of extreme run-on sentencecraft, made up words, profanity, and abstruse punctuation, but hey, you know what they say:
“When in rome, you can’t buy bananas.”
Oh, and here’s some awesome stuff sourced from the TheRobotReport.com:
Larger Image – PDF With Links
Nice article! Well written, and great pictures and information on all the different up and coming prototypes!! It is hard to believe we didn’t have robots ready to jump into the radioactive chamber, or at lead radiation suits that were heavy enough to shield somebody for a few minutes of exposure.
The question is, will Japan still operate any new plants in the wake of Fukushima, or will the burgeoning “renewables only” movement win out and keep new nuclear plants off Japanese shores?
Thanks for the comment and the kind words!
And the energy-tech question is a good one. Prior to the Fukushima disaster, depending on how you count, nearly 20-30% of Japan’s total energy needs were covered by nuclear, 2nd in the world behind France. Incidentally, still less than half of France’s percentage contribution of 55-77% – and when was the last time we heard about a French nuclear disaster? Yep, nope.
At the moment, several nuclear plants remain in post-Fukushima shut-down, making the percentage grid contribution much lower, and in effect, making nuclear an actual so-called “alternative energy,” but not exactly a renewable.The Japanese have a unique aversion to nuclear-anything, understandably so.
It can be done safely, but it’s a sticky political issue. So, like most of the rest of the world, fossil fuels are largely what’s keeping the electricity flowing here in J-Pan. And that game is eventually going to come to an end. While there is an understandable anti-nuclear sentiment here in Japan, there isn’t a lot of choice for the future.
Personally, I doubt that renewables & alternatives as we think of them now are going to be the future of energy production for humanity (wind, super-inefficient conventional solar, geothermal, methane-farting algae, etc.). It will likely be nuclear, but not the fission we know now, rather the fusion being pioneered at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and several European labs (HIPER, AWE, etc.). Oh and maybe, maybe space solar.
Down with neo-hippies!
@DigitalGalaxy: Last I heard, many/most of Japan’s nuclear plants will come back online again with revised rules.
@anthrobotic: We will see gen4 nuclear before fusion. And it’s very interesting stuff like.. reactors that are 100% immune to meltdowns.. running on our “old spent waste”.. running on thorium.. google “generation 4 nuclear”.
Mike, you are correct – I believe nearly all of them will come back online relatively soon. And yeah, the G-4 nuclear theories are great, but one has to wonder if they’ll ever get made. Because fusion might tread water for the next 10 years, but it doesn’t look that way, and technological leapfrogging is a helluva thing.
Basically, think… ummm… current G-2, 3 nuclear reactors are cassette tapes, and theoretical G-4 reactors are CDs, and fusion plants are the MP3. Yeah, CDs were shiny and cool and unprecedented, but in the end, they were just another physical medium.
…so to speak.