Scorpion-Like Robot Developed for Fukushima’s Nuclear Power Plant

September 1, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. monitor /ˈmɒn ɪ tər/ (v.) – to watch or regularly check something
Example: Scientists monitor the volcano for possible signs of eruption.

2. resemble /rɪˈzɛm bəl/ (v.) – to have a similar appearance to something else
Example: The building resembles a pyramid.

3. incident /ˈɪn sɪ dənt/ (n.) – an unexpected and unpleasant event
Example: There was a chemical spill incident here a few years ago.

4. complex /ˈkɒm plɛks/ (n.) – a group of buildings or structures that are near each other
Example: The apartment complex was ruined by the fire.

5. coast /koʊst/ (n.) – the land close to the sea
Example: I want to live near the coast so I can be close to the ocean.


Read the text below.
Toshiba has recently released a robot to be used in the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Together with the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning, Toshiba developed the scorpion-like robot to monitor the condition of the nuclear power plant after the 2011 explosion. Currently, no worker can enter the said power plant, as doing so is very risky. 

The robot is 54 centimeters in length and weighs five kilograms. Like a scorpion, the robot has a tail with a built-in camera and LED lights so it can better see its surroundings. This is complemented by another camera and a set of LED lights attached to its nose. The robot is also designed to put itself right up whenever it falls over.

To control the robot, operators use controllers that resemble the ones used in PlayStation games. Using the robot, experts can measure the temperature and radiation level of the area.

Since the tsunami and earthquake incident in 2011, Japanese authorities have been experiencing difficulties in dealing with the ongoing flood of radioactive water in Fukushima. Cleaning up the complex has been a struggle as the rainwater flows toward the radioactive area. 

Japan still has a long way before it completely cleans up the affected area, despite various measures done in the past. Nonetheless, the Japanese government hopes to prevent any incident similar to the 2011 disaster by building a huge wall around the coast of Japan to block out tsunamis.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with Japan’s plan to build a huge wall around the country’s coast? Why or why not?
·         What else do you think Japan can do to monitor the condition of the nuclear power plant?

Discussion B

·         How else can robots be used? Discuss your answer.
Do you think robots can soon do all human tasks? Why or why not?

September 1, 2015