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

New robot to check molten fuel

November 25, 2016

TEPCO to send robot into Fukushima reactor in Jan.



The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says in January it plans to send an inspection robot into one of its crippled reactors to ascertain the status of the molten fuel.

The No.1 to 3 reactors experienced a meltdown after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Some fuel in the No.2 reactor is believed to have melted and thought to have penetrated through its core, accumulating at the bottom of the containment vessel.

The locations and status of nuclear fuel have yet to be determined. These will have a significant impact on the process to remove it from the reactors, a key step toward decommissioning the plant.

The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, initially hoped to put an inspection robot into the reactor in August last year.

But the operation was postponed twice. Broken concrete was blocking a pipe to be used as an entry point for the robot. A site workers plan to use for the mission had extremely high levels of radiation.

The utility says it has removed the obstacles and decontaminated the area enough to launch the inspection.

The company plans to create a hole in the lid of the pipe leading to the containment vessel next month to see if there is any problem with the route .The firm says that should it discover any new obstacle, it will mobilize another robot to fix the problem.

In January, engineers will maneuver the inspection robot through the pipe and into the containment vessel by remote control. The robot will film the interior of the vessel and gauge levels of radiation.



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