February 14, 2019
TOKYO (Kyodo) — The operator of the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant said Wednesday its latest probe has found that debris inside one of the reactors can be lifted, raising hopes for progress in its bid to remove melted fuel and decommission the complex.
During the around eight-hour examination on Wednesday, TEPCO inserted the probe, equipped with a camera, radiation meter and tong-like grips to hold objects, through a penetration hole that provides access to the primary containment vessel.
Of the six locations that were surveyed, the probe, which is 30 centimeters tall and 10 cm wide, successfully moved gravel and a stick-like structure in deposits in five areas. The tong-like grips were able to lift up to 5 cm of some of the deposits, according to TEPCO.
In the remaining area that resembled clay, however, the probe could not pick up any of the deposited material, indicating it was relatively hard.
“As we have found that we can move (the deposits), we proved that extracting fuel debris is possible. But for objects that cannot be grasped, we need to develop new equipment,”