Robot dog sent to sniff or detect radiation in Chernobyl

34 years have passed since the worst nuclear accident on record in history. Chernobyl represents one of the darkest events in the world, ...

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34 years have passed since the worst nuclear accident on record in history. Chernobyl represents one of the darkest events in the world, and its effects continue to be visible today.

A ghost zone, the area in which the nuclear accident occurred contains a series of questions and answers that scientists around the world want to know.

And although access to the area is not safe, and it is not officially allowed either, some institutions such as the University of Bristol have taken refuge in technology to access this site.

The University of Bristol sends a robot dog to Chernobyl, what do they intend to discover at the site of the nuclear accident?

  • 34 years after one of the biggest catastrophes in history, robotics takes another step towards research through robotics
  • Chernobyl has a new inhabitant: the robot dog ‘Spot’ arrived in the affected area to contribute to the analysis of the terrain
  • One of the robot’s missions will be to operate under radiation conditions

No matter how long it takes, the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident remains a mystery to scientists.

Today, researchers from the University of Bristol have found a way to access the accident area to try to recover valuable information for future projects.

Thus, on the 22nd the four-legged robot, known as “Spot”, arrived at Chernobyl. Specifically, it was housed in the area that corresponds to nuclear reactor number four, the exact site where the worst nuclear accident in history occurred.

In an effort to retrieve data related to radiation levels In that area, scientists from the University of Bristol sent four robotic platforms, including the ‘robot dog’ Spot, to the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant.

Pripyat / Chernobyl
Photo: Shuuterstock

One of Spot’s specific tasks will be to demonstrate to what extent it can operate in radiation conditions.

The advantage of sending a ‘robot dog’ is that, according to the scientists in charge of the project, it is capable of carrying the necessary equipment to measure radiation levels and allow an analysis of said data to be carried out remotely.

David Megson-Smith, one of the researchers on the project, explained that Spot’s ‘robot dog’ task at Chernobyl will go a long way toward designing useful robotic platforms within the nuclear industry.

In a video posted by the power plant, you can see how Spot walks through the immediate area, specifically within an area specifically designed to stop the radiation leak from reactor number four.

Chernobyl, a disaster zone that has caused fascination among the scientific community

It was on April 26, 1986 when Chernobyl became one of the darkest historical references in all of human history.

The nuclear plant, located within the former territory of the Soviet Union, suffered an explosion caused by a failed test that scattered columns of nuclear material throughout Europe.

The result of this accident cost the lives of approximately thirty people in the first weeks, but its effects are believed to cause the death of 4,000 people in total in the long term.

It is not yet known for sure how many people died indirectly from this event, since deaths from cancer and other diseases could not be directly related to the explosion.

Pripyat City Park
Photo: Shutterstock

The severity of the explosion left several dozen people dead as a result, but it also turned the area into a ghost town that, to this day, is only visited by a small number of people.

As a new resident, ‘robot dog’ Spot came to Chernobyl with one main task: helping scientists measure radiation levels in the area.

The success of this mission could result in the creation of a 3D map in which each area where harmful electromagnetic waves exist is illustrated in detail.

The University of Bristol is working hand in hand with the Central Initiative for Radioactive Waste Management to achieve significant advances in radiation measurement in the area.

The ‘robot dog’ was built by the United States-based Boston Dynamics Robotics Company, and It is designed to conduct inspection rounds independently, as well as to move in the hostile environment of the old nuclear plant.

Since its arrival in Chernobyl, the robot has surveyed the area, but it has not been the only instrument that researchers have used.

In addition to Spot, the ‘robot dog’, a specialized team from the University of Bristol has also been given the task of conducting studies by sending remote drones, sensors and scanners; Although this is a great achievement for all the institutions involved, experts say there is still a long way to go.

Spot’s arrival in Chernobyl comes after researchers from the University of Bristol visited the area to study the surroundings and figure out how they would conduct their study.

David Megson-Smith, Senior Research Associate at the University of Bristol, explains step by step the tasks to be carried out by the ‘robot dog‘during his stay at the Chernobyl nuclear plant.

Megson-Smith points out that Spot’s role in the area has as one of its main goals to study how robotic systems work under extreme conditions.

Photo: Shutterstock

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