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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Workers needed where robot not good enough

October 2, 2015

TEPCO gets closer to robot probe of No.2 reactor



Oct. 2, 2015 - Updated 00:58 UTC+2

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has made progress toward a robot inspection of the interior of one of its reactors. Its workers removed obstacles from the path to the containment vessel surrounding the reactor core.

The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, plans to maneuver the robot to film molten nuclear fuel in the No.2 reactor for the first time. The reactor experienced a meltdown after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The company had previously postponed its plan to run the robot probe in August as chunks of concrete were blocking the pipe to be used as an entry point for the robot. The reactor site also had an extremely high radiation level of above 1,000 millisieverts per hour.

The utility decided that clearing away the concrete blocks would be difficult by remote control. Instead, its workers started to remove them by operating, in turns, heavy machinery equipped with radiation-resistant steel plates. They completed the work on Thursday.

The company says the workers were exposed to up to 2.5 millisieverts of radiation during the removal operation.

Tokyo Electric says it will take more than 2 months to decontaminate the area and wants the robot probe in operation early next year. But the firm adds that it cannot set a specific schedule for the inspection as the cause of the high radiation level remains unknown.


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