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Wednesday, 6 March 2013

WELL, THEY'VE LOST THEIR ROBOT AND MORE LATE NEWS...

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Japan's 'long war' to shut down Fukushima nuclear plant


Japan's 'long war' to shut down Fukushima nuclear plantMembers of the media wearing protective suits and masks are escorted by TEPCO employees while walking near the building housing the plant's No. 4 reactor, center, and an under construction foundation which will store the reactor's melted fuel rods at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Wednesday.REUTERS/ISSEI KATO

TOKYO —
Just months after Quince was deployed to inspect Japan’s tsunami-devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the $6 million robot got trapped in its dark and winding pathways....

In the ensuing weeks, hundreds of Japanese workers and soldiers battled to contain the crisis. Their arsenal of weapons was often improvised, low-tech and underpowered. Helicopters dumped buckets of water over the plant to cool it. Electricians laid a cable to connect the plant to a power source miles away in what may have been the world’s longest extension cord.
The nuclear disaster earlier called into question Japan’s vaunted reputation for bureaucratic competence and leading edge technology.

Officials say the project is mostly on schedule and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government wants to speed up the timetable. Experts, however, say it may already be too ambitious.
“It’s a pipe dream,” Michio Ishikawa said of the four-decade target shortly before he retired last year as chief adviser at the Japan Nuclear Technology Institute, adding it could take decades more.
Reuters reporters visited the plant three times since February 2012 and interviewed dozens of experts, officials, engineers, workers and industry executives to compile the first comprehensive report on the decommissioning project.
Many of those interviewed expressed serious concerns about a lack of vital technology, a potential labor shortage and the vast amount of funds Japan’s heavily indebted government will need to spend.

Quince was first deployed in June 2011 and was carrying out a survey of one of the reactors when the operators lost contact with the machine later that October. Attempts to retrieve the robot have failed, though developers conjecture one day they will find Quince and it could give them valuable information about the effects of prolonged radiation on electronics.
The new version, called “Sakura” or Cherry Blossom, can navigate narrower spaces and, unlike its predecessor, plug into a battery charging station on its own.
Technology, however, must still be developed to accomplish even the most basic first step - the ability to find and repair leaks in the reactors and fill them with water to shield human workers from high radiation emitted by the debris.

Quince was first deployed in June 2011 and was carrying out a survey of one of the reactors when the operators lost contact with the machine later that October. Attempts to retrieve the robot have failed, though developers conjecture one day they will find Quince and it could give them valuable information about the effects of prolonged radiation on electronics.
The new version, called “Sakura” or Cherry Blossom, can navigate narrower spaces and, unlike its predecessor, plug into a battery charging station on its own.
Technology, however, must still be developed to accomplish even the most basic first step - the ability to find and repair leaks in the reactors and fill them with water to shield human workers from high radiation emitted by the debris.

Fukushima Daiichi plant sits like a carbuncle on Japan’s northeast coast 240 km from Tokyo. Its damaged reactors still seep radiation, although at a rate of 10 million becquerels per hour for cesium versus about 800 trillion right after the disaster.
Becquerel per hour measures the amount of radiation emitted or the rate of radioactive decay. As atomic isotopes decay, they spin off energized particles that can penetrate human organs and damage human cells, potentially causing cancer. To minimise the dangers to human health from radiation, the government is enforcing a 20-kilometer no-go zone around the plant.
Every day the roughly 3,000 workers who will enter the plant assemble at a base camp - a former sports complex called J-Village - on the edge of the exclusion zone.
There, they don full-body protective suits, rubber gloves and plastic shoe guards. Once at the plant, they put on face masks to keep from inhaling radioactive particles.

“This kind of job has never been done,” said Keiro Kitagami, a former lawmaker who headed a government task force overseeing R&D for the project. “The technology, the wherewithal, has never been developed. Basically, we are groping in the dark.”

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Read Full Article here

And so now the begin the arduous task of telling us the reality that we knew all a long. Fukushima Nuclear Plant, was, is and will continue for a very long time to be screwed.....

 
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