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TEPCO resumes survey with new robot

April 15, 2015

2nd robotic survey begins inside damaged reactor


Apr. 15, 2015 - Updated 10:56 UTC+2

TEPCO resumes survey with new robot

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has begun operating a new robotic probe in the containment vessel of one of the facility's reactors after a similar device failed.

Tokyo Electric Power Company sent the new 60-centimeter, snakelike robot into the vessel of the damaged No.1 reactor on Wednesday.

The first probe stopped working on Friday after advancing about 10 meters on a platform in the container. The utility gave up on recovering the device as one of its maneuvering belts apparently got stuck in a gap of the platform.

The probe collected valuable images in the vessel along with temperature and radiation data. The container was filled with steam from water heated by molten nuclear fuel. Humans cannot stay there due to extremely high radiation levels.

The operator concluded that the robot's camera and maneuvering belts functions well, but decided to be more cautious even if the new probe takes two or three days.

The 2nd robot is to take a route different from the previous one, to collect a wide range of information about the reactor.



TEPCO resumes robot survey inside Fukushima reactor vessel



TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant resumed surveying the inside of the No. 1 reactor's containment vessel using a remote-controlled robot Wednesday, aiming to obtain more data about the condition of melted fuel.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. began the probe last Friday, in its first attempt since the 2011 three-reactor meltdown to check the interior of a damaged reactor's primary containment vessel using a robot. But the shape-shifting robot stopped moving after only a few hours and the utility gave up on retrieving it.

On Wednesday morning, TEPCO sent another robot equipped with cameras, a dosimeter and a thermometer into the vessel. The robot is expected to go halfway around the container to gather data on radiation levels and temperatures while taking footage of locations that were not covered during last week's survey.

TEPCO said the robot used on Friday is likely to have become stuck to the metal-mesh floor. Nonetheless, the stranded robot was able to record some data, measuring radiation levels of up to around 10 sieverts per hour -- a fatal level for humans.

The company also said it has learned from Friday's probe that the robot can function for a few days under high levels of radiation harmful to electronics -- much longer than the 10 hours or so initially anticipated.

Fuel inside the Nos. 1 to 3 units is believed to have melted through the reactor pressure vessels and has been accumulating in the outer containers.

However, its precise condition remains unknown more than four years after the nuclear crisis triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

The utility plans eventually to inspect the underground area of the containment vessel where fuel debris is believed to be accumulating.

Tepco resumes survey of crippled Fukushima reactor vessel with new robot





The operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant resumed a video survey inside a reactor containment vessel on Wednesday, inserting a second robot after an earlier effort left a similar robot stranded inside.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. began the probe last Friday, in its first attempt since the 2011 meltdown to check the interior of the No. 1 reactor’s primary containment vessel and to ascertain the position of the melted-down fuel. The shape-shifting robot produced valuable images and radiation readings but stopped moving after only a few hours and the utility gave up on retrieving it.             […]


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