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Robot designed for faster, safer uranium plant pipe cleanup

In this photo made on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, David Kohandash, left, and Mohammad Mousaei work on the RadPiper robot in the robotics institute at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. (Keith Srakocic / Associated Press)
In this photo made on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, David Kohandash, left, and Mohammad Mousaei work on the RadPiper robot in the robotics institute at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. (Keith Srakocic / Associated Press)
By Kantele Franko Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio crews cleaning up a massive former Cold War-era plant in Ohio plan to send a high-tech helper into pipes where uranium was processed for use in nuclear reactors and weapons.

An autonomous, radiation-measuring robot will identify potentially hazardous uranium deposits to determine which pipes require special remediation at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon.

Officials say using the RadPiper robot is safer, tremendously faster and more accurate than the current method of workers taking external measurements. They also say it could save tens of millions of public dollars on cleanups of that site and one near Paducah, Kentucky.

The robot was developed at Carnegie Mellon University for the U.S. Department of Energy, which envisions eventually using similar technology at nuclear complexes in South Carolina and Washington state.

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