‘Nuclear firewalker’ robot for Fukushima unveiled amid great publicity — Freezes onstage, carried away (VIDEO)

Published: November 21st, 2012 at 12:35 pm ET


Title: Japan’s new nuclear-proof robot gets stage fright
Source: Reuters
Authors: Reporting by Mari Saito; Editing by Jeremy Laurence and Nick Macfie
Date: Nov. 21, 2012
h/t Enformable, Anonymous tip

A Japanese robot designed to withstand high levels of radiation and extreme heat at damaged nuclear plants such as Fukushima froze on Wednesday on its first public demonstration. […]

Toshiba Corp unveiled Japan’s own nuclear-proof robot on Wednesday […]

During the demonstration, the robot experienced a case of stage fright. The shuffling Tetrapod locked up and suddenly froze after it tried to balance itself, forcing technicians to carry it away. […]

Watch the video here

Published: November 21st, 2012 at 12:35 pm ET


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46 comments to ‘Nuclear firewalker’ robot for Fukushima unveiled amid great publicity — Freezes onstage, carried away (VIDEO)

  • bwoodfield bwoodfield

    So they're spending their money on developing a robot to peek into the reactors, but not cleaning up their mess. Looks like a smoke screen to try and show that their doing something while burning radioactive waste and making the problems worse.

    • JHewes76 JHewes76

      No matter what they see they are screwed .. don't need a robot to tell me that 😉


      "…but not cleaning up their mess." bwoodfield? This is part of the effort to do so; albeit, long overdue and technically impotent.

      What is revealing (about this effort) is the fact that little's in place to answer this nightmare. They've had decades of nuclear-related accidents (both big and little ones) to reference, yet next to nothing was ever developed (technically or procedurally) to meet these deadly challenges. It's as though the nuclear power industry has been nodding at the control panel. And these people want the right to continue proliferating this deadly technology throughout the world?

    • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

      But can it drink coffee at Starbucks?

      That is the question…

  • Anthony Anthony

    Wait till it hits the radiation.

  • many moons

    Sounds like stage fright

  • Replacant Replacant

    It was finally told it was going to Fukushima, surprised it didnt make a run for the door.

  • or-well

    Nuke Firewalker
    loses the Force;
    relegated to caddy
    on nearby golf course.

    • aSpadeisaSpade aSpadeisaSpade

      Another good one, or-well!

    • richard richard

      Where is R2D2 when you need him?

      I suspect R2 is in fact a Jedi Knight.

      But back to 'reality'. The next invention will be a 'time machine' that will take tepco execs on a very long journey.

  • gfv

    Sorta sad.
    this could have been really haha "good" news,
    and oddly it's the best news I have heard in a while.

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    On a brighter note (also NHK):
    "Politicians advocating an end to nuclear power generation in Japan have agreed to join forces to aim for a combined majority in the Lower House election next month.

    About 20 lawmakers from People's Life First, the Social Democratic Party, the Democratic Party and others met in the Diet building on Wednesday.

    They were joined by about 60 members of citizens' groups campaigning against nuclear power.
    People's Life First Acting President Kenji Yamaoka said at the meeting that while 7 in 10 people in Japan oppose nuclear power, 7 in 10 Diet members support it.

    Yamaoka said that what politicians are doing is worlds apart from people's wishes.

    He called on voters to vote for candidates advocating an end to nuclear power so that like-minded lawmakers will win a majority in the chamber and possibly form a coalition government."

  • Sickputer

    From that article on "Nuclear Firewalker":

    "It is the second time such Japanese robotic technology has experienced problems. Last October, a crawling robot developed by the Chiba Institute of Technology lost connection with operators and was abandoned inside Fukushima's No. 2 reactor building."

    SP: Poor Tepco…they not only deploy suicide robots, they are liars also. They have lost at least FIVE robots inside Units 2 and 3 at Fukushima Daiichi: Two made by Americans (Packbots) and three made by Chiba Institute of Technology.

    RIP Quince 1 lost in Unit 2 June 2011:

    "Quince 1 is still stranded in the Reactor 2 building, "for the moment", in much lower radiation, relatively speaking (10 millisieverts/hour where it sits)."

    RIP Quince 2 (aka Survey Runner):

    "TEPCO announced on July 11 that the robot became inoperable [April 18, 2012] after it was sent to the Reactor 3 building basement at FUkushima I Nuclear Power Plant to measure radiation levels and take the video. The company said it would be difficult to retrieve the robot for the moment because of the high radiation levels."


    Rosemary 1, 2, and 3 (designed to last 3 years) went into the hellhold at Fukushima in August 2012 and succumbed without even a death notice by Tepkill:


  • Sickputer

    BTW…the Yahoo Singapore finance release about Nuclear Firewalker makes no mention of the problem demonstration:


    SP: If robots die easily at Fukushima…that doesn't bode well for human workers. Or for the general population.

  • weeman

    We need a I Robot, Apple what are you waiting for, you have lots of money, good publicity, I am for hire won't be cheap but a company like you could make a difference, anybody working at apple could you make a request, I here they are open minded.

  • timemachine2020 timemachine2020

    What they need is a robot that tells them to evacuate the women and children immediately.

    • eatliesndie eatliesndie

      all they need do is get the robot to function long enough to spit out one sentence – "danger danger warning warning, High radiation. Evbacut Women and ch*…….."

  • eatliesndie eatliesndie

    LOL…. what a bunch of jokers. One crashed robot after another.

  • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

    despite failures and the surprisingly undeveloped level of the robots, …see videos of "big dog", robotics remains one of the only ways to manipulate anything in a high rad environment. Progress should be stepped up with military funds. When they get serious, they can bring out big machines like this;

    We have ruined the earth with big machines like these. Maybe they can be used to sort of patch it up for the next generation of brain size reduced people…and other animals…while the final collapse of the ecosystem occurs.

  • JHewes76 JHewes76

    So what are they going to do to fix things? Encase 1/2 of Japan in concrete? that'd be like putting a rug over a cigarette burn in a wood floor. Damage is done. There is no reset button.

  • weeman

    Would you rather see one dead robot one after another or one dead person, the levels of radiation must be tremendous, we must peruse all avenues of opportunity to investigate these meltdowns in hopes of finding answers, we certainly can not decommission at this time.

    • JHewes76 JHewes76

      Sure you can .. The next big earthquake and/ or tsunami and we are all dead.
      Just flip the "off switch"


        what do you mean JHewes76 with the "off switch" thing?

        • JHewes76 JHewes76

          weeman's last sentence "we certainly can not decommission now" I'm saying sure we can. start shutting them down now.. but they'll probably wait for another disaster.


      you are correct weeman, on all accounts. Sadly, they're years (decade?) away from developing rad-hardened technology that's capable of taking on this nightmare. There is a push to do so, but I fear such control technology will not make it off the fabrication line in time. The world has little idea, how badly prepared humanity is in their ability to face-off with nuclear technology…gone wild…

  • gfv

    If this new robot had been made by GE not Westinghouse/Toshiba, maybe it would have been a brave robot. GE claims to bring good things to life…ie mutations, and gross deformities generations down, thyroid growths, and more good things…

  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    Japan is tanking as far as exports go.. Wonder why?


    This would have NOTHING to do with radiation, or would it?

    • 16Penny 16Penny

      So true, no mention of tainted products. Does anyone know of a report on things like cars or consumer electronics? How many people are collecting radioactive presents this year? And more importantly, do they come with a certificate of authenticity like the little piece of the Berlin Wall I have on a shelf?

  • Chelsea Chelsea

    We have a similar robot built for use with the military, and runs (faster than Usain Bolt!), jumps, rolls… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdYSStF4fqc

  • JustmeAlso

    New ad:
    now, nuke proof robots! better than the previous ones! Washing bullshit whiter than ever before!

  • RememberThis RememberThis

    They pulled the video bwahahahahah

  • JHewes76 JHewes76

    If they pull the video that means it never happened 😉

  • Sickputer

    A followup in the Philly paper talking about the weak abilities of the current robots in high radiation. Of interest to me is the slant of the article:

    "Still, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it might use the robot to inspect the suppression chamber of the nuclear plant where a devastating meltdown occurred after a mammoth tsunami slammed into northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011."


    SP: See, what gets me is the lack of the use of plural chambers as in "suppression CHAMBERS". This American article sounds like only one unit is involved. Small point I guess, but it's typical of the downplaying of the Daiichi crisis.

    Fukushima remains a desperate ongoing crisis as the frenetic work on top of Unit 3 (see 1:43 into the clip below) clearly indicates:


    Does that look like a nuclear megaplex under control?

    Wake up folks in the Northern Hemisphere…death is lurking in the ground at Daiichi. The huge 6-unit plant has hundreds of tons of nuclear fuel uncontained and is only one large earthquake away from re-igniting burning fuel.

    One sizable earthquake at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant and Japan will be devastated by radiation. North America will be dealt a massive blow of nuclear fallout that will quickly propel North Americans into a Mutant Era.