26 Julio 2017 10:42
The radiation melted the other submarine robots sent on the same mission
An amphibian robot has captured images of the remains of melted nuclear fuel at the Fukushima nuclear plant. The remote-controlled robot recorded images of a ‘hardened black, grey and orange substance’ at the bottom of reactor No. 3. It is the first robot that has been able to do so, as the high radiation levels have melted and destroyed the others that were sent.
The photographed deposits are between one and two metres thick, according to the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco). It is believed that the debris are lumps of melted fuel, probably uranium and plutonium oxide, which mixed with broken parts of the reactor following the earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
The precise location of the melted fuel is essential for working out how it can be eliminated without causing any damage, and to then decommission the plant, an operation that could take 40 years to complete and cost around 91,757 million euros.
The video captured by the underwater robot will help to deal with a disaster in which more than 100,000 people had to be evacuated in a 48-kilometre radius of the Japanese facility. However, no robot has successfully submerged in reactors 1 and 2 due to the excessive radiation. Last February, the worst levels of radiation were recorded in reactor number 2 since the nuclear accident. A metre-wide hole was detected, possibly created by melted uranium, where radiation levels of 530 sieverts an hour were registered.