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Friday, 31 July 2015

Robot probe into No.2 reactor may be delayed

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says it may have to postpone plans to send a robot probe into the plant's No.2 reactor due to difficult preparations.

Tokyo Electric Power Company was planning to send a robot into the containment vessel of the No.2 reactor in August. The purpose is to capture video images of molten nuclear fuel for the first time.

The utility assumes the fuel penetrated the reactor core and is inside the containment vessel.

The plan involved using a pipe sticking out of the container as an entry point for the robot. But some concrete blocks are blocking the way and need to be removed.

Workers found that the remote-controlled machinery they wanted to use to remove the blocks cannot operate in some areas of the reactor building due to an eroded floor and other reasons.

TEPCO says it is now considering using chemicals to clear the blocks or developing new machinery to remove the blocks.

Due to these reasons, the utility says the probe may be postponed from August until December or later, in the worst case. 

Source: NHK 
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150731_06.html
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