A few months ago, back when Japan was freshly reeling from that devastating earthquake and tsunami, it became obvious that robots could help survey radiation levels in Fukushima, even if they were powerless to lower them. Now, Tokyo Power Electric Co., the company that operates the damaged nuclear plant, is experimenting with an ad hoc system designed to clean at least some of the radioactive dirt from the reactors. What you see in that clip below is an industrial-grade vacuum cleaner attached to a Warrior, the most heavy-duty of iRobot's mobile bots. The idea is that workers can control the system from a safe distance, and let the robot handle the dirty work of removing toxic sand and debris. Head past the break to see it in action, combing the floor of the (eerily) empty plant.

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Fukushima plant operator uses modded robot vacuum to suck up radioactive dirt (video)