Robots should remediate contaminated sites as autonomously as possible and support the dismantling of nuclear facilities as well as the recovery of hazardous materials: This is the objective of ROBDEKON, a competence center funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
After four years of defining detailed use cases, researching technological principles, and developing demonstrators, the focus in phase II is now on transferring the results into practice and making the center permanent.
Therefore, ROBDEKON is looking for partners for pilot projects – i. e. companies that want to offer and/or use autonomous decontamination technology.
Robots should perform decontamination tasks as independently as possible in environments that are hostile to humans, e.g. in the remediation of contaminated sites or in the dismantling of nuclear facilities and the decontamination of power plant components – with the aim of allowing humans to stay out of the danger zone. This vision was at the beginning of ROBDEKON. Now, the first, four-year funding phase of the competence center has been completed and various systems waiting for their evaluation in the field have been developed. These systems are able to measure contamination, handle hazardous substances, or autonomously remove contaminated layers of soil.
When chemically contaminated sites or old landfills are remediated, toxic waste is sorted or nuclear facilities are dismantled, people work in environments that are hazardous to their health: they handle pollutants, there is a risk of fire or explosion, or the level of radioactive radiation is increased. This makes complex and often stressful protective measures necessary. This could be remedied by robots and autonomous machines that can carry out the work without an operator nearby. There is now a central point of contact for researching and testing the technologies required for this purpose: on 25 June, the »ROBDEKON Competence Center - Robots for Decontamination in Hazardous Environments«, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), was opened in Karlsruhe.
Launch of the competence center »ROBDEKON« · · Press Release
If chemically contaminated sites have to be remediated or nuclear facilities have to be dismantled, workers are exposed to considerable health risks despite all precautions and protective equipment. In the future, robotic systems are to carry out such decontamination work so that people can stay away from the danger zone. The new »ROBDEKON Competence Center«, which is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research with twelve million euros, is working to make this vision a reality.