A robot has reached melted nuclear fuel in the ruins of the Fukushima power plant
A specially designed remote-controlled probe has reached the melted nuclear fuel at the bottom of the ruined No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. The plant operator released a video showing a robot lifting radioactive debris.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) – the plant’s operator – sent inside one of the destroyed reactorsoin a specially designed robot. This is not the first robot sent on a mission to explore this environment. TEPCO had previously undertaken many prob the use of remote-controlled robotsoin and cameras to investigate the situation in the damaged reactors, but so far has only been able to see a small part of the reactor’s interiorow. The activities have already consumed several robotow, whichore failed to cope with the high radiation.
TEPCO released a video showing the inside of the reactor. In it, the robot’s pliers-like arms can be seen lifting the debris, whichory likely to be melted nuclear fuel. This is the first successful proba approaching the solidified nuclear fuel. The machine, developed by Toshiba, managed to survive in the first place and, on top of that, proved capable of lifting chunks of debris.
The Fukushima nuclear power plant suffered severe damage after a tsunami wave thatora hit Japan in 2011. The tsunami was caused by a strong earthquake with a magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale. The wave itself was 15 metersow. As a result of the shocksow occurred to automatically shut down the four sposrod 54 of all reactorsoin nuclear in Japan.
The Fukushima power plant experienced core meltdowns at reactors 1, 2 and 3. Contaminated seawater used to cool the reactor has leaked into the environmentow. This is the biggest nuclear disaster since timeoat Chernobyl.
Removing the residual fuel is the biggest challenge in the long process of decommissioning the reactorow, whichory according to a specialistow will take at least three to four decades. Removing them cannot be done by humans because of dangerously high radiation levels. The development of the robot, whichory would be able to remove the radioactive debris brings a glimmer of hope that the disaster can be cleaned up.
The robot prob was raising rohe size of nuclear fuel residues at the 10 locations of the Fukushima plant’s reactor No. 2. Pieces o roThe gritty shapes provided operators of the remote-controlled machine with some difficulties. Ogolnie the procedure failed in three places. Technicians believe that the remains are most likely firmly fused to others and will be difficult to move. It will be necessary for this to develop another robot, whichory mohead to cut them off and take them with them.
The footage shows that the remains of the melted fuel are scattered over a large area. This makes it possible to estimate the enormity of the work to be done. TEPCO’s original plan is to remove a small amount of melted uranium fuel later this year, but the full-scale operation at all reactors is expected to begin in 2021.
TEPCO is required to clean the reactorow. It is to develop the technologies necessary to accomplish this task. Of course, with the coohe cooperation with institutions and private companies. But the procedures and technology, ktora will be developed and used to remove wasteow could be useful elsewhere. Most notably in the decommissioning of numerous nuclear power plants not only in Japan, but also around the world. Data collected during the operation will provide roalso important indicationsowek about what actually happened in the reactors during the disaster.
Unfortunately, the press release on the successful exploration inside the reactor did not provide any data relating to the temperature or radiation levels there.