TEPCO Sends Robot into Fukushima's Unit 2; Snaps First Images of Unit 3 (w/ pictures and video)

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has announced it will use a robot Wednesday at Fukushima to check for damage to the suppression pool at the bottom of the No. 2 reactor's primary containment vessel, the company said Tuesday.

Survey Runner (Source: Tepco)"We want to check whether there is no deformation or damage in the suppression pool. And, with any luck, we hope to see areas where water (injected into the reactor as a coolant) may be leaking," Tepco spokesman Junichi Matsumoto said.

The robot, called "Survey Runner," is expected to descend stairs and move along a pathway running above the suppression pool, a doughnut-shaped vessel connected to the primary containment vessel and meant to hold cooling water.

Flooding the vessel with water is vital to block radiation when taking out the fuel, but TEPCO found through an endoscope survey in March that the water level in the 34-meter-high vessel was only 60 centimeters deep.

New Underwater Images

A remote control camera was submerged 7 meters into the spent fuel pool of Unit 3, showing severe damage caused by last year's accident. The images showed the unit's 35 ton fuel handling machine - which had been positioned above the fuel pool before the accident - has fallen on top of the spent fuel rack.  FraFuel handling machine submerged in unit 3 fuel pool (source: TEPCO)gments from iron frames were also seen in the 11.8 meter deep pool.

The extent of the damage on the fuel rack has not been confirmed.

The removal of spent fuel in unit 3 is scheduled to begin by the end of 2014. In order to remove the 514 spent fuel assemblies held inside the unit, debris needs to be taken out of the building first. TEPCO intends to "keep surveying the unit to determine the locations and conditions of the debris."

Watch the video here

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  • Anonymous

    if you want to operate a nuclear reactor, then you should not assume anything about potential disasters, like we do here in N.A. JUST LIKE JAPAN !!!