Robots provide glimpse inside Fukushima reactors

ITworld | Apr 17, 2015

A pair of shape-shifting robots have ventured into the pressure vessel of reactor 1 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan - one of three reactors that suffered meltdowns after the devastating March 2011 tsunami.

Images from a place no person can venture.

These were taken by robots inside the pressure vessel of reactor 1 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan - one of three reactors that suffered meltdowns after the devastating March 2011 tsunami.

The robots are providing a detailed look inside this highly radioactive environment as part of the clean-up.

Just how radioactive can be seen on the video. The white specks aren’t interference, that’s radiation hitting the camera sensor. And look in the corner.

4 Sieverts is enough to cause almost certain death. Here you’d get that in less than 10 minutes.

But TEPCO says this is ten times less radiation that it was fearing.

Normally, this area should be safe to walk around in. I did just that in 2007 at Kashiwazaki Kariwa, another nuclear power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power. But the Fukushima accident caused nuclear fuel to melt through the bottom of the reactor, up there, into this area, poisoning it and making the clean-up much more complex.

The precise state of the melted fuel is still not known. That will be investigated by in a further mission and could bring unpleasant surprises, but for now the good news is that there is little debris. That should at least make it easier for other robots to get around.

Martyn Williams, IDG News Service.