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Robotic discovers likely melted fuel stack inside Fukushima reactor

Saturday, July 22, 2017|9:02 p.m.

TOKYO– Images recorded by an undersea robotic showed huge deposits thought to be melted nuclear fuel covering the floor of a damaged reactor at Japan’s paralyzed Fukushima nuclear plant.

The robotic discovered large quantities of strengthened lava-like rocks and lumps in layers as thick as 1 meter (3 feet) on the bottom inside of a main structure called the pedestal that sits beneath the core inside the main containment vessel of Fukushima’s Unit 3 reactor, stated the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co.

. On Friday, the robot identified suspected debris of melted fuel for the first time given that the 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused several meltdowns and damaged the plant. The three-day probe of System 3 ended Saturday.

Locating and evaluating the fuel particles and damage in each of the plant’s 3 damageded reactors is crucial for decommissioning the plant. The look for melted fuel in the 2 other reactors has actually up until now been unsuccessful because of damage and extremely high radiation levels.

During today’s probe, cams installed on the robotic revealed comprehensive damage triggered by the core disaster, with fuel particles combined with broken reactor parts, recommending the hard obstacles ahead in the decades-long decommissioning of the damaged plant.

TEPCO representative Takahiro Kimoto said it would take time to evaluate the debris in the images to find out particles removal approaches.