Japan today deployed a shape-shifting remote-controlled robot to survey a reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant to assess for the first time the radiation levels since the 2011 tsunami.
The survey would be used to assess the condition of the melted fuel debris in detail. The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has sent a robot to inspect the internals of a reactor, Kyodo news agency reported.
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) deployed a robot to check the interior of a reactor's primary containment vessel to check the interior of a reactor's primary containment vessel.
The nuclear disaster at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant on March 11, 2011 resulted in a meltdown of three of the plant's six nuclear reactors. The failure occurred when the plant was hit by a tsunami that had been triggered by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake.
The robot developed by Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd and the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning is equipped with cameras, a thermometer and dosimeter.
The robot can function properly for only 10 hours under high levels of radiation. The robot can crawl inside the container by expanding itself to U shape, officials at TEPCO said.
The inspection which is to be carried out in the lower part, where a large part of debris is believed to be accumulated is not feasible though, mainly because of the inability of the robot to perform in the highly radioactive water generated in the process of cooling the fuel.
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A water-proof version of the robot is expected to be developed by the end of next March. The shape-shifting robot was inserted through a narrow pipe and would be operated from a location which has relatively low levels of radiation within the reactor building.
The second round of the survey would be conducted on Monday.