MHI and Obayashi Jointly Develop "Radiation-shielded Seat" To Suppress Radiation
Exposure of Machinery Operators Working in Radiation-contaminated Areas
Tokyo, Nov 14, 2012 - (JCN Newswire) - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI)
and Obayashi Corporation have jointly developed a "radiation-shielded
seat" that suppresses radiation exposures of industrial vehicle operators
working in radiation-contaminated areas. The seat incorporates body armor-like
radiation shielding developed by combining MHI's radiation shielding
technology based on development and production of special vehicles, and
Obayashi's decontamination experience, with a target of suppressing
radiation exposure of operators by 50%. MHI will begin marketing the seat in
mid-December as an easy-to-use tool to reduce radiation exposure risk of
operators engaged in work such as decontamination, debris removal and waste
transportation using hydraulic excavators and other industrial vehicles.
The two companies developed the radiation-shielded seat in anticipation of use
in various situations, specifically: work performed on the premises of the
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station operated by Tokyo Electric Power
Company, Inc. (TEPCO) and decontamination work at nearby high-dose radiation
areas; transportation of nuclear waste at interim storage and volume reduction
facilities currently under consideration by the Ministry of the Environment;
and uses in the event of a severe accident at other nuclear-related facilities.
Installation of the new radiation-shielded seat can save cost, time and labor
compared with procurement of special radiation-shielded vehicles or conversion
of currently operated equipment to radiation-shielded vehicles.
The seat material, including body armor parts (shoulders, arms,
chest/abdominal area, thighs, neck), consists mainly of tungsten sheet, which
offers excellent radiation shielding capability. Although the seat weighs a
considerable 130 kilograms (kg), individual parts weigh less than 20kg and most
of their weight is integrally supported by the seat, so the burden on the
operator is minimal. In addition, the operator can put on and remove the
armor-like parts easily by opening/closing the front like a vest, and each part
is adjustable in the front-back and up-down directions. Together these features
provide a high rate of radiation shielding while simultaneously minimizing
fatigue during continuous work and inconvenience to machine operation from
wearing such shielding.
Going forward MHI and Obayashi will take further steps to prepare for
launching the new radiation-shielded seat on the market. These include possible
verification testing of shielding efficacy in actual radiation-contaminated
areas, and initiatives to further improve the seat's user-friendliness and
its shield factor. Joint efforts will be directed into proposing adoption of
the new seats by construction companies performing decontamination work,
operators involved in the construction or maintenance of contaminated waste
incineration facilities, power providers, etc. MHI will be responsible for
Starting immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake disaster of March
2011, MHI has been proactively cooperating in the response to the accident at
the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. For example, the company delivered
forklift trucks with radiation-shielded cabins, performed conversion work on
the "Mega-Float" provided to TEPCO by Shizuoka City to store
contaminated water pooling at the reactors, and delivered and installed storage
facilities for radioactive sludge produced during treatment of contaminated
water. In addition, in July 2011 MHI established Disaster Prevention Project
Group within its General Machinery & Special Vehicles division tasked with
developing and marketing disaster prevention-related systems and equipment.
Obayashi has also been broadly involved in efforts to deal with the aftermath
of the earthquake disaster. It was in charge of a decontamination model test
project targeted at four communities in Fukushima Prefecture, and subsequently
it has performed decontamination work on full scale and undertaken a
decontamination verification project aimed at reducing the level of
radioactivity of incinerated ash. Going forward, Obayashi will carry forward
with technology development in aspects such as decontamination, volume
reduction, storage and community planning, devoting companywide efforts to
recovery and restoration work to enable an early return to safe living with
full peace of mind.
MHI and Obayashi plan to undertake joint initiatives to promote adoption of
their newly developed radiation-shielded seat, as part of their ongoing support
efforts to secure an early recovery in the devastated region.
About Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is one
of the world's leading heavy machinery manufacturers, with consolidated
sales of 2,820.9 billion yen in fiscal 2011, the year ended March 31, 2012.
MHI's diverse lineup of products and services encompasses shipbuilding,
power plants, chemical plants, environmental equipment, steel structures,
industrial and general machinery, aircraft, space rocketry and air-conditioning
systems. For more information, please visit the MHI website at www.mhi.co.jp.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
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