• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Twin robots play Jenga upon reunion at UKAEA in Oxfordshire

Byoxfordnewspaper

Aug 3, 2022

TWO robots enjoyed a game of Jenga as they were reunited for the first time in more than 20 years.

The twin robots, both known as MASCOT, reconnected at the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), based at Culham Science Centre.

UKAEA carries out fusion energy research on behalf of the Government, with one of the robots used to maintain a fusion energy machine, which reaches temperatures 10 times hotter than the core of the sun.

Fusion research aims to copy the process which powers the sun, to create a new large-scale source of low carbon energy.

READ ALSO: Major breakthrough made in copying process which powers the sun

The robots are being put through their paces in a series of practice ‘rescue missions’ where each saves its stranded twin.

The development of ‘self-recovering’ robots to go where humans can’t is key to making fusion energy a safe, sustainable, low carbon energy source, UKAEA reported.

Skilled operators use two robot arms to control each MASCOT as it performs tasks including replacing tiles, welding, cutting, dust collecting and surveying to maintain UKAEA’s fusion energy machine.

Gary Hermon, remote handling lead technologist at UKAEA, said: “Robotic systems are an integral part of putting fusion energy on the grid for the design and maintenance of future fusion power plants.

“We can’t afford to have a robot that gets stuck.

“The second MASCOT is now in place to train our remote handling team in rescue tasks ensuring its twin can always be saved when working on the maintenance of JET, our machine where EUROfusion researchers set a sustained fusion energy record announced earlier this year.”

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This story was written by Liam Rice, he joined the team in 2019 as a multimedia reporter.

Liam covers politics, travel and transport. He occasionally covers Oxford United.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Liam.rice@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailLiamRice