On July 19, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) sent a new type of submersible robot into the containment vessel of the third reactor at the Fukushima nuclear plant to search for fragments of melted nuclear fuel. This footage, captured by the robot’s camera, shows the interior of the reactor. The search lasted for three hours, according to the Japan Times, and the fuel debris was not located. Nevertheless, a TEPCO spokesman said the Toshiba robot provided new information about the damage sustained during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Previous attempts to probe the interior of the first and second reactors at the damaged nuclear plant with robots have stalled due to structural damage and high levels of radiation. Investigators with the company believe that the debris, which needs to be removed for the decontamination of the plant, is located within the third reactor. All three reactors suffered a meltdown during the 2011 Fukushima earthquake and tsunami. Credit: TEPCO via Storyful
Damaged equipment housing a control rod drive system for Unit 3 at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. An underwater robot has captured images and other data inside Japan’s crippled nuclear plant on its first day of work. Picture: AP
AN underwater robot has entered a badly damaged reactor at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, capturing images of the harsh impact of its meltdown.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co says the robot, nicknamed “the Little Sunfish”, successfully completed work inside the primary containment vessel of the Unit 3 reactor at Fukushima, which was destroyed by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
Part of a reaction control rod drive of Unit 3 at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. Fuel rods have melted and mostly fallen to the bottom of the chamber submerged by highly radioactive water. Picture: APSource:AP
Spokesman Takahiro Kimoto says the robot captured views of the underwater damage that has not been previously seen.
However, the images contain no obvious sign of the melted nuclear fuel that researchers hope to find.
The newly developed robot for underwater investigation at the Fukushima’s damaged reactor. Picture: APSource:AP
The robot was left inside the reactor and is expected to go deeper inside on Friday in hopes of finding the melted fuel.
The remote-controlled robot, about the size of a loaf of bread, is equipped with lights, manoeuvres with five propellers and collects data with two cameras and a dosimeter, which measures exposure to ionising radiation.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) spokesmen explain how the robot is searching the damaged reactor for molden fuel rods. Picture: APSource:AP
The robot was co-developed by Toshiba and a government-funded consortium. It is on a mission to study the damage and find the fuel that has melted, breached the core and mostly fallen to the bottom of the primary containment chamber, where it has been submerged by highly radioactive water as deep as 6m.
Remote-controlled robots are key to the decades-long decommissioning of the damaged plant but super-high levels of radiation and structural damage have hampered earlier probes at two other reactors at the plant.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
© 2016 serendib news network. all rights reserved.