24 Février 2012
TEPCO to use underwater robot for repair work
Tokyo Electric, or TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it is considering using an underwater robot to probe and repair the damaged reactor containment vessels.
The plan was unveiled at a meeting in Tokyo to discuss ways to dismantle the reactors at the plant on Friday. Nuclear experts and officials from the robot maker attended.
The utility firm and the manufacturer say they are planning to deploy the remotely controlled robot on the underground level of the reactor buildings, as it is flooded with contaminated water.
They say this is a step toward repairing the containment vessels of No.1 to No.3 reactors so that the melted nuclear fuel can be removed.
In the meeting, another proposal was also made to use a 10-meter-long rod with a camera on the tip to examine the interior of the containment vessels.
A roadmap for decommissioning the reactors, set by the government and TEPCO, says the removal of the nuclear fuel should start within 10 years. Technological development appears to hold the key to the project's success.