After the failure of the fourth unit of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, it was important to not only extinguish the fire in the reactor, but also to prepare for the subsequent work related to dosimetric reconnaissance of the surrounding territories in order to detect and clean the area of radiation materials.
Undoubtedly, such a work required the involvement of a large number of personnel, but engaging them in this type of work was dangerous due to possible radiation exposure. Therefore, the management of the liquidation works decided to develop robotic systems and use tractors and bulldozers for decontamination.
One of these robotic systems was the transport robot STR-1, which was actively used to clean the roof structures of the Chernobyl NPP. The prototype of this robot was a lunar rover. It was radio-controlled, which allowed the personnel to be less involved in activities at irradiation points. The STR-1 was successfully used at the end of September 1986.
Due to its undercarriage, the transport robot was able to successfully cope with many tasks on the canopies of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which at that time looked rather like the moon surface than a simple building roof. At the same time, the design of the chassis made it possible to effectively protect the structure from contamination. The transport robot was powered by 2 built-in silver-zinc batteries and was delivered to the roof initially by a Liebherr crane and later by a helicopter with an external sling.
As a rule, the STR-1 transport robot worked with a radiation background of at least 3,100 x-rays per hour and, according to official data, did not break down. Unfortunately, it is not entirely true as the robot was often used with a radiation background exceeding 10,000 R / h, so its components were not designed for such loads and the equipment was out of order. At the same time, any failures were eliminated by specialists who were working on site, without the participation of the military.
According to official data, more than ninety tons of radioactive systems were removed using the STR-1 transport robot, which made it possible to exclude the potential participation of over a thousand people in the decommissioning works.