Wed, Feb 01, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Photos may show lost nuclear fuel at stricken Fukushima

Bloomberg

New photographs show what might be melted nuclear fuel sitting under one of the wrecked nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in Japan, a potential milestone in the search and retrieval of the fuel almost six years after it was lost in one of the worst atomic disasters in history.

Tokyo Electric Power Co Holdings Inc, Japan’s biggest utility, released images on Monday showing a grate under the No. 2 reactor covered in black residue.

The company, better known as TEPCO, might send in a scorpion-like robot this month to determine the temperature and radioactivity of the residue.

Finding the location “will let them know how much material is there, the configuration of the material, and then they can determine the best way to remove it,” said Dale Klein, an adviser to Tepco and a former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“The fact that they accomplished this technical objective is good,” Klein said in an interview in Tokyo.

Using a team who worked remotely and on site, the utility guided a camera through a hole drilled into a wall obstructing access to the reactor’s primary containment vessel.

If confirmed, the photographs would provide the first view of the fuel melted during the triple reactor accident at Fukushima.

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