Today’s Solutions: October 19, 2021

We’ve shared updates from Boston Dynamics’ robotics lab before, and now the famous robots are back, but this time they’re not dancing, they’re cleaning up nuclear waste! A team of researchers from the University of Bristol hopes that robots could help keep humans safer in the decommissioning process of nuclear disaster sites. To test out their strategy, the researchers took a robot team to perhaps the most famous nuclear disaster site of all: Chernobyl.

On the ground, the team worked primarily in the New Safe Confinement (NSC) facility, a structure placed on top of the remains of Reactor 4 in 2016. On site, the researchers trained robots to create a 3D map of the area and measure radiation levels─which can be up to 40,000 times above normal levels in this location. This data can help researchers identify the location of radiation as well as how it is spreading.

Although Chernobyl is largely abandoned, it does attract tourists each year. The region has also become more prone to wildfires in recent years, which pose the threat of further radiation release and spread. The researchers are optimistic that the use of robots would help differentiate between radioactive waste types on site, boosting the efficiency of clean up efforts. If successful, robots could be deployed to decommission other nuclear sites, like Fukushima.

Image source: Chernobyl FSS

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

These are the inaugural winners of the Earthshot Prize

We recently wrote about Earthshot Prize nominee Vinisha Umashankar, a clever 14-year-old student from Tamil Nadu who created a mobile ironing cart that runs off solar power. Although Umashankar didn’t win an Earthshot Prize, the ... Read More

6 Ways to end bedtime procrastination

Are you a bedtime procrastinator? Do you know you should go to sleep but end up binge-watching television, scrolling through social media, or looking for an appetizer recipe to bring to that dinner party this ... Read More

Residents of this small Spanish town pay less taxes the more they recycle

The small Spanish town of La Nucía is located just 10 kilometers away from the touristy seaside resorts of Benidorm. But compared to its skyscraper-dominant neighbor, La Nucía’s architecture ranks high in sustainability rather than ... Read More

Help scientists locate walruses by becoming a walrus detective

The Arctic is under increasing threat due to climate change, and so is the biodiversity that it supports. That’s why the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and the British Antarctic Survey have decided to collaborate with ... Read More

EU is giving away 60,000 free Interrail tickets to European youth

The European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas realizes that the coronavirus pandemic forced young people to “[miss] valuable and formative moments of their youth.” As a recognition of their sacrifice in the name of public ... Read More

Shades of Favor is the first all-Black female group to summit Kilimanjaro

A team of climbers has made history as the first group of Black women to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s largest free-standing mountain. The group of nine women come from a wide range of backgrounds ... Read More