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Robot Successfully Reports Killer Radiation Levels Inside Fukushima Reactor

Robot Successfully Reports Killer Radiation Levels Inside Fukushima Reactor thumbnail

Tokyo Electric on Sunday confirmed lethally high radiation levels inside the primary containment vessel (PCV) of the heavily damaged unit 1 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

A magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 resulted in the meltdown of three of Fukushima’s six reactors. The disaster in Japan left around 19,000 people dead and more than 100,000 homeless. In the largest nuclear incident since Chernobyl, radiation levels were so high that every robot sent to explore the site has failed.

Finally, on Saturday the PMORPH robot inserted into unit 1 in the first of a series of four missions into the PCV basement area managed to provide the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) with the radiation and temperature measurements within it.

Devices on the camera-equipped robot measured radiation levels of 7.8 sieverts per hour on a metal stage for workers and 1.5 sieverts per hour in water pooled at the bottom. The figures are significantly lower than the 210 sieverts per hour measured at one spot in the PVC of the No. 2 reactor last month, but are still extremely high.

The four-day inspection launched by Tepco, the owner and operator of the now-defunct Fukushima-1 nuclear plant, is part of preparatory work for the eventual removal of fuel debris. The primary mission of the robot is to investigate the bottom of the containment vessel to see whether it can capture images of the melted fuel. Finding the exact location and condition of the melted fuel is considered critically important to dismantling the reactors.

In photos provided to the media, a valve and a pipe in cooling water at the bottom of the containment vessel is shown covered in a yellowish substance that the utility said could be rust. Another photo shows the grating that the robot, which is attached to a cable, was traveling on.

Tepco said the robot can withstand up to 1,000 sieverts before malfunctioning. It traveled about 5 meters on Saturday and will eventually make its way to the other side of the concrete structure through a space that runs beneath the pressure vessel, which houses the core.

The process of decommissioning the nuclear plant is expected to take at least 40 years, and cannot begin before a full assessment of the damage is complete.

Sputnik International    

15 Comments on "Robot Successfully Reports Killer Radiation Levels Inside Fukushima Reactor"

  1. Cloggie on Mon, 20th Mar 2017 10:08 pm 

    Fukushima is the death knell of global nuclear power and a constant reminder that this form of energy generation is a giant no-go area.

  2. Midnight Oil on Mon, 20th Mar 2017 10:49 pm 

    TEPCO finally bought a toy remote truck at the Tokyo downtown department store and strapped a camera with Geiger counter on top. Now, that is high-technology… Cost to TEPCO
    1 million Yen ….bill to Government..
    100 Billion Yen…and they say you can’t make money with nuclear energy!

  3. Anonymous on Mon, 20th Mar 2017 11:11 pm 

    The plant will take 40 years to dismantle eh? Probably more like 400, and even then it will never be anything like ‘clean’. But let’s consider for a moment, how much that 40 year cleanup effort will cost. How much net ‘profit’ and economic activity did that plant generate over its lifetime? And how will that compare to the final decommissioning price tag? Once you’ve done all that, for sake of completeness, tack on the loss of economic actively that the area around the plant will suffer from, past, present and future earnings that will never be realized now. Foregone opportunities.

    Too EXPENSIVE to meter, is the term that comes to my mind.

  4. GregT on Tue, 21st Mar 2017 12:57 am 

    “Robot Successfully Reports Killer Radiation Levels Inside Fukushima Reactor”

    Finally, some progress.

  5. Go Speed Racer on Tue, 21st Mar 2017 1:48 am 

    Wow. Now that the million dollar robot
    told me it’s not safe to go into there,
    I changed my mind, and won’t go into there after all.

  6. Go Speed Racer on Tue, 21st Mar 2017 1:59 am 

    Already explained how to clean it all up,
    in 5 minutes, and still am right as rain.

    Ya just go on down to the local indian
    reservayshun fireworks stand, and ya buy
    yerself the big jumbo ‘God Bless America’
    sized Hydrogen Fusion Bomb.
    Put in the middle of the Fukushima complex,
    Light Fuse, and get away!

    Ka BLAMMO, up she all goes, to 125,000 feet
    and blows it all away, real fine dust,
    all the way to North Korea. Problem

    Now just wait a few short decades, and ya gotz
    a nice clean blue lagoon to drive your speedboat
    around in. The kids can play on the beach,
    and they got ‘Fukushima burgers’ and
    ‘Fuel Rod Hot Dogs’ for sale on a stand at
    the beach. and don’t forget your cups of
    ‘Ice Dam Lemonade with real lemons’.

    And they got little zinc cast ‘Fukushima reactors’ with magnets on the back you
    can stick on your fridge when you get back home.

    But noooo… you guys all want to pay
    a thousand workers to lean on shovels all
    year. Suit yourself… should help drive up
    inflation and the national debt.

    Japan will never be the same until they
    bring back Silver Pioneer stereo systems:

    And the 1992 Toyota Forerunner…

    All the new stuff nowadays, is a bunch of worthless krap.

  7. twocats on Tue, 21st Mar 2017 7:28 am 

    “The process of decommissioning the nuclear plant is expected to take at least 40 years, and cannot begin before a full assessment of the damage is complete.”

    that can’t possibly be right. is this article suggesting that clean up hasn’t even begun? I’m pretty sure some work has been done on reactor four.

    “Six years later, damaged reactor buildings have been reinforced, and more than 1,300 spent fuel assemblies have been safely removed from a storage pool in reactor No 4.”

    cold comfort when you consider they started working on reactor two because reactors 1 & 3 are so damaged they can’t even begin to asses. so in 6 years we have a partial clean up of 1 reactor, and that was only ever designated as “serious” (level 3) vs level 5 “international scale event” of 1 – 3.

    I think it might be reasonable to consider 40 years AFTER they’ve engineered how to assess where the material is and how to actually remove it.

  8. Go Speed Racer on Tue, 21st Mar 2017 8:35 am 

    No need to reinforce the shattered
    reactor buildings, if we simply vaporize them in a
    gigantic nuclear fireball.

  9. Jerry McManus on Tue, 21st Mar 2017 1:29 pm 

    I like the nuclear fireball idea. I wonder how far that “vapor” would travel…?

    Here I was thinking every reactor all over the planet should immediately be encased in giant stone tombs. Perhaps they could be shaped like pyramids. Just a thought.

    After all, we know first hand that structures such as giant stone pyramids will last at least a few thousand years. Maybe more.

    And anyone silly enough to dig into one will probably die just slowly enough to get the word out: Pyramid equals death.

    Thank you ancient Egyptians for those dandy prototypes you built a while back.

  10. Go Speed Racer on Tue, 21st Mar 2017 1:53 pm 

    Pyramids OK, for old decommissioned
    nuke plants.

    The mess at Fukushima is a bit more
    extreme, so we need the atomic driveway

    If we built the correct nuke plants instead of
    the wrong ones, we would have plenty power
    no waste, and no decommission.

    It’s called LFTR, or liquid Thorium fuel.
    It works so spectacularly well, it’s very
    important not to build it since we aren’t
    allowed to build things that solve the problem.

  11. GregT on Wed, 22nd Mar 2017 1:00 am 

    Meanwhile, back at Chernobyl….

    The new sarcophagus, at a cost of ~2.3 billion USD, is expected to be completed later this year. With any luck it should last until around 2117, and then our grandchildren (if any make it that far) will need to figure out what to do with it, without modern industrialism powered by oil. ( Not to mention the other 500 or more nuclear reactors that are likely to have gone critical by that point) Too cheap to meter.

    Quite the legacy.

  12. GregT on Wed, 22nd Mar 2017 1:09 am 

    Just like we need better technologies to save us from the consequences of our best technologies. We need better engineers to save us from the consequences of our best engineers.

    But I digress.

  13. Cloggie on Wed, 22nd Mar 2017 4:40 am 

    Thank God, Antius has a new, better generation of nukes on the shelf for us, this time run on plutonium.

    Edgy, wicket!

  14. george on Wed, 22nd Mar 2017 3:18 pm 

    General Electric – ” We Bring Good Things to Life “

  15. Go Speed Racer on Thu, 23rd Mar 2017 2:38 am 

    Don’t blame the engineers.
    It’s the stupid-ass business majors,
    greedy rich turds, like Mitt Romney,
    all proud of his white starch shirt with
    the sleeves rolled back to his elbows,
    for the photo-op.
    Dumbasses like him can’t even tighten a
    lug nut and get it right.
    Those are the business majors who control
    the companies and stop and prevent and abuse
    the engineers against any good outcome.
    Plenty engineers voicedthe scenario of
    the Fukushima diesel backup woudl get flooded.
    So the business majors fired anybody who
    would complain. Business majors are
    scumbags but don’t blame the engineers.

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