Robot finds possible melted fuel in Fukushima reactor
24 July, 2017, 01:52 | Author: Devin Moran
An underwater robot captured images of solidified lava-like rocks Thursday inside a damaged reactor at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, spotting for the first time what is believed to be nuclear fuel that melted six years ago.
Tepco has chose to carry out another search on Saturday, sending the robot as far as the bottom of the containment vessel, where a chunk of melted fuel is believed to have accumulated.
However, the utility noted that it would take some more time for experts to confirm whether this debris contains melted nuclear fuel.
A report from the Associated Pressdetailed the results of a three-day investigation conducted on the Fukushima plant's Unit 3 reactor.
Lake Barrett, a former official at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission who was involved in the cleanup at the Three Mile Island nuclear electricity plant in America, stressed o the importance of knowing the exact locations of the melted fuel to develop a defueling plan.
In the No. 3 reactor, most of the nuclear fuel is believed to have melted and fallen through the pressurized vessel, which is inside the containment vessel.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) released images on Friday evening of a substance dangling like icicles around a control rod drive attached to the bottom of the pressure vessel, reports Efe news. TEPCO representatives added that fuel rod assemblies found in that vessel had "melted into a puddle" after the 2011 tsunami, before burning through the bottom.
The No. 3 reactor is one of the three reactors that experienced meltdowns in the nuclear disaster, which followed the March 2011 quake and tsunami.
A robot designed by Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd. also failed to find any melted fuel during its probe of the No. 1 reactor in March.
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