December 1, 2023

Video shows how scientists used a robot dog to sniff out radiation levels in Chernobyl

The scientists’ main aim was to test remotely controlled robots, including a robot dog, in the area. Information obtained by the robot will help update maps showing the spread of radiation in the areas.

What’s the safest way to assess radiation levels at the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident and try map it? You send in a robot dog.

The Central Enterprise for Radioactive Waste Management and University of Bristol scientists brought in four-legged robot dog named Spot, that has been manufactured by Boston Dynamics, to map radiation levels in the area.

The yellow robot dog that has been designed to detect radiation was spotted working at Chernobyl’s nuclear reactor number four, the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management reported.

The robot was tasked with surveying levels of radiation in the zone and then creating a 3D map of its distribution, Ukrainian news site Ukrinform reported.

According to the agency, the experiment took place in the two sectors where radioactive waste is temporarily stored.

The video showed the robot at the site’s hanger and its surrounding areas. It was also sent to the New Safe Confinement structure, which is a huge moveable steel dome meant to contain hazardous radioactivity since the April 1986 disaster.

The site was abandoned after the largest nuclear disaster in history, which released extreme levels of radiation into a large area near Pripyat, Ukraine.

The scientists said their main aim was to test the remotely-controlled robots in the Exclusion Zone.

“We came to the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone to use the robotic platforms for mapping the distribution of radiation, test our robotic platforms and build new networks of people,” David Megson-Smith, University’s senior post-doctoral researcher was quoted as saying in the  Ukrinform report. He added that they had worked in other nuclear plants before, but nothing like Chernobyl.

In 2019, University of Bristol researchers visited the site to carry out the first ever done-based mapping survey of the “Red Forest,” a four square mile wooded area that surrounds the disaster site.


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