【日本首次启用水下鱼形机器人 福岛核电站受损严重】

【日本首次启用水下鱼形机器人 福岛核电站受损严重】近日,日本首次使用水下机器人拍摄到福岛第一核电站3号机组内的具体状况。“小太阳鱼”水下机器人只有面包大小,使用两台照相机和剂量计辐射探测器收集数据,捕获了以前根本无法看到的水下情况。水下画面显示,3号机组受损严重但熔落的核燃料并未被发现。

 

Fukushima breakthrough as robot spots melted fuel 'lava rocks' inside damaged reactor for first time

  • Solidified lava-like rocks  believed to be nuclear fuel that melted six years ago
  • Belived  fuel flowed out of the core into the primary containment vessel of the Unit 3 reactor at Fukushima

An underwater robot captured images of solidified lava-like rocks Thursday inside a damaged reactor at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, spotting for the first time what is believed to be nuclear fuel that melted six years ago.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the robot found large amounts of lava-like debris apparently containing fuel that had flowed out of the core into the primary containment vessel of the Unit 3 reactor at Fukushima.

The plant was destroyed by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

This image captured by an underwater robot shows lava-like lumps believed to contain melted fuel inside the Unit 3 reactor at Fukushima. Experts believe the fuel melted and much of it fell to the chamber's bottom and is now submerged by radioactive water.

Cameras mounted on the robot showed extensive damage caused by the core meltdown, with fuel debris mixed with broken reactor parts, suggesting the difficult challenges ahead in the decades-long decommissioning of the destroyed plant.

Experts have said the fuel melted and much of it fell to the chamber's bottom and is now covered by radioactive water as deep as 6 meters (20 feet).

The fuel, during meltdown, also likely melted its casing and other metal structures inside the reactor, forming rocks as it cooled.

TEPCO spokesman Takahiro Kimoto said it was the first time a robot camera has captured what is believed to be the melted fuel.

'That debris has apparently fallen from somewhere higher above. We believe it is highly likely to be melted fuel or something mixed with it,' Kimoto said.

He said it would take time to analyze which portions of the rocks were fuel.

In an earlier survey on Wednesday, the robot found severe damage in the vessel, including key structures that were broken and knocked out of place.

FUKUSHIMA'S 'SUNFISH' ROBOT

An underwater robot has captured images and other data inside Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on its first day of work.

The marine robot, nicknamed the 'little sunfish', is on a mission to study damage and find resources inside the devastated plant.

The probe - about the size of a loaf of bread - is equipped with lights, manoeuvres using tail propellers and collects data using two cameras and a dosimeter radiation detector.

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An underwater robot (pictured) has captured images and other data inside Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on its first day of work

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The 'Little sunfish' (pictured), which is about the size of a loaf of bread, has now begun collecting in the highly radioactive waters

During a demonstration of the device at a test facility near Tokyo last month, the probe slowly slid down from a rail and moved across the water.

A team operated it remotely, with one guiding the robot while another adjusted a cable that transmits data and serves as its lifeline.

The robot, nicknamed 'the Little Sunfish,' on Friday went inside a structure called the pedestal for a closer look. TEPCO plans to send the robot farther down on Saturday in hopes of finding more melted fuel and debris.

Experts have said the melted fuel is most likely to have landed inside the pedestal after breaching the core.

 

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) shows an image captured by an underwater robot inside the Unit 3 reactor at Fukushima nuclear plant during a press conference at the TEPCO headquarters in Tokyo

Kimoto said the robot probe in its two missions has captured a great deal of useful information and images showing the damage inside the reactor, which will help experts eventually determine a way to remove the melted fuel, a process expected to begin sometime after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

'It's still just the beginning of the (decades-long) decommissioning.

'There is still a long way to go, including developing the necessary technology,' he said.

'But it's a big step forward.'

More images of the lava-like lumps believed to contain melted fuel inside the Unit 3 reactor at Fukushima
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An image from an underwater robot on a jission earlier thsi weeks shows the lower part of a control rod drive inside reactor No. 3 at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture

Locating and analyzing the fuel debris and damage in each of the three wrecked reactors is crucial for decommissioning the plant. The search for melted fuel in the two other reactors has so far been unsuccessful because of damage and extremely high radiation levels.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4717998/Possible-melted-fuel-seen-time-Fukushima-plant.html


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