The nuclear industry has caused huge amounts of waste since early 1950’s. The UK’s National Centre for Nuclear Robotics is developing solutions to clean-up the vast amounts of generated waste. Using current technology it’s reported that the clean-up would take 120 years and it’s estimated that 1 million human entries would be required to access contaminated areas.
We now have the technology capable of doing complex work that humans do. With developments in robotics there is also an ethical and moral obligation to stop humans having contact with radioactive waste. Where humans are required to work with nuclear waste, they are required to wear protective clothing and operate heavy tools and are limited to a few hours work at a time as it’s tiring and dangerous. Using machinery would help to reduce the risk of secondary waste however, the sector has proved resistant to adopting these developments. This is largely down to the manufacturers of robots being very structured and constrained. The construction industry however, requires robots that can work autonomously due to nuclear waste being completely unstructured and humans having to work precisely in complex environments.