14 Avril 2015
An image of objects inside the No. 1 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant sent from the robotic probe is seen. The piece in the middle is believed to be a hook for pipe insulation. (Image courtesy of the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning)
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, on April 13 released footage taken by a robotic probe sent inside a highly radioactive reactor vessel.
The images sent from the robot that has been sent inside the containment vessel of the No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant included a number of objects scattered on a steel mesh floor on the ground level. This is the first footage taken inside a reactor containment vessel among those of the No. 1 to 3 reactors at the Fukushima plant that experienced meltdowns in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The air radiation dosage inside the vessel recorded by the robot was up to around 10 sieverts per hour while temperatures measured at around 17.8-20.2 degrees Celsius. The images showed steam coming from radioactively contaminated water underground.
The utility is set to conduct a study on the basement level of the reactor vessel, to which nuclear fuel is believed to have melted down, by the end of March next year. A TEPCO representative said the company successfully collected data that could lead to the next step of the probe.
TEPCO sent the robot inside the reactor vessel on April 10, but it stopped working after traveling for less than 20 meters. The utility said the robot possibly has got stuck on a bump or some objects on the floor.