18 Janvier 2016
January 18, 2016
Jan. 18, 2016 - Updated 10:40 UTC+1
Electronics maker Toshiba has shown media a pair of new devices to be used in retrieving nuclear fuel rods from one of the reactors at the damaged Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant.
The 2 devices were unveiled at a Toshiba factory in Yokohama, near Tokyo, on Monday.
They will be used to remove rubble and extract fuel from a storage pool at the plant's Number 3 reactor building.
When the nuclear accident occurred in March 2011, fuel rods were being held in pools on the top floors of the Number 1 to Number 4 reactor buildings.
Workers have cleared the pool at the Number 4 building. But fuel rods remain in the 3 other buildings as workers cannot enter due to high levels of radiation.
The device to clear out rubble is about one meter wide and has 2 arms to hold or cut debris. It is suspended with 6 wires to enable small location adjustments.
After rubble is removed, the other device will be used to retrieve 566 units of fuel in the Number 3 reactor building pool.
The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, aims to bring the devices to the reactor building in the next fiscal year, have workers trained and start work in 2018.
The leader of the team that developed the devices, Koichi Sekiguchi, says little is known about the situation inside the pool.
He says the team will develop new tools if the devices are not enough to make sure that workers can carry out their mission safely.