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TEPCO to use ‘fishing gear-like’ robot to hunt for melted fuel at Fukushima nuke plant

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said it will send a fishing gear-like robot into the nuclear fuel containment vessel of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant’s No. 1 reactor on March 14 to examine the state of melted nuclear fuel.
This will be the power company’s latest in a series of attempts to find and examine nuclear fuel at the plant using robots. TEPCO plans to spend four days on the search in hopes of ascertaining the state of the fuel for the first time. The melted fuel is believed to be in the bottom of the containment vessel, where radioactively contaminated water has accumulated.

The rod-shaped robot measuring about 70 centimeters long will travel through the water inside the vessel after being dropped in on a cable — like fishing — through a gap in scaffolding at the site.


March 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO to conduct robotic probe of No.1 reactor next week Tuesday


TEPCO to conduct robotic probe of No.1 reactor

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it will send a remote-controlled probe into the crippled No.1 reactor next week.

Tokyo Electric Power Company said on Thursday a robot equipped with a camera and dosimeter will be inserted into the containment vessel of the reactor, beginning on Tuesday.

The 4-day probe is part of the utility’s effort to remove melted nuclear fuel from the 3 reactors at the plant that experienced meltdowns following the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11th, 2011.

TEPCO believes the fuel penetrated the No. 1 reactor’s pressure vessel and has remained at the bottom of the containment vessel as fuel debris.

The robot is 70 centimeters long and about 10 centimeters wide. It will enter the containment vessel through a pipe.

The plan is to lower the camera and dosimeters attached to cables at 5 locations into contaminated water at the bottom, which is about 2 meters deep.

TEPCO officials say that even if the water is too murky to capture images, data from the dosimeter will help them assess the condition and extent of the debris.

They say it will be a delicate operation, citing the possibility that the robot may get stuck in piping or on other structures and become irretrievable.

The latest probe follows a robotic survey into the No.2 reactor earlier this year.

TEPCO to examine inside of Fukushima No. 1 reactor Tues. with robot

The operator of the disaster-struck Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant said Thursday it will attempt to examine the inside of the No. 1 reactor next Tuesday using a remote-controlled robot.

The move follows a botched attempt by another self-propelled robot to take a look inside the No. 2 reactor, which also melted down. That robot became unable to move when it encountered debris and eventually could not be retrieved.

These are the first attempts by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to examine the insides of the wrecked reactors since the nuclear disaster triggered by a massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami on March 11, 2011.

March 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

New robot built to study inside of No. 1 reactor at Fukushima plant


A new investigative robot, equipped with a censoring unit hanging through metal grating, is scheduled to be send into the No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in the coming months. (Kohei Tomida)


HITACHI, Ibaraki Prefecture–Another robot has been developed for the elusive goal of locating melted fuel and surveying the interior of the No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

A team of engineers and researchers from Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd. and the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning revealed the robot on Feb. 3.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the plant, plans to deploy the robot into the No. 1 reactor before the end of March.

The robot will be fitted with a censoring unit mounted with a camera, dosimeter and lighting. Its purpose is to give TEPCO an idea of the location and condition of the melted nuclear fuel in the reactor.

Most of the melted fuel is believed to have fallen through the reactor’s pressure vessel, landed on the bottom of the surrounding containment vessel, and is soaking in cooling water about 2 meters deep.

The new robot will maneuver around metal grating originally set up for maintenance work about 3.5 meters above the bottom of the containment vessel.

At each of five survey points, the robot will lower the censoring unit through the grating. The unit can operate in water.

In April 2015, TEPCO sent two robots into the No. 1 reactor, but they could not locate the melted fuel.

One of them became stuck, and high radiation levels disabled the camera on the other. TEPCO abandoned the machines in the reactor.

On Jan. 30, a remote controlled video camera sent into the No. 2 reactor took what are believed to be the first images of melted fuel at the plant.

February 6, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi Reactor 1 Smoking

I can’t tell if they are dumping water or something else in but lots of smoke seen in the reactor 1 building today February 5, 2017.

February 6, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

What Was Dumped in and Cemented West of Reactor #1?


Citizen scientists at work! This is what we can all do to ensure the truth remains clear, in spite of the barrage of corporate propaganda. Thanks Ray Masalas

Ray Masalas found this early picture in his files {May 8th 2011 still a road west of reactor #1} and of course the later {Late July 2011} below picture showing the huge concrete pour west of reactor #1.

You can guess what got dumped in there and cemented over? No wonder the aquifer is hot. Anyway, at least we have a timeline on the mysterious boat shaped, concrete pour. By Aug. 2011 it became covered with sand and they pretended they were just regrading the road.

Ray Masalas guesses the blob from the north wall of reactor #4 and a pile of blown out fuel rod chunks went in there. He really wishes he had a picture of how deep they dug it but we know how the Japanese media release only films where Tepco lets them. If he didn’t go frame by frame we never even would have had this. You know how they like to swing the camera past the important stuff.

And in both pics you can see the 45 degree angle of the roof of Reactor #1 collapsing from south to north after the blast. It’s sitting on the fuel pool. No one has been in there since they put the tent over it in Oct 2011. Maybe some poor slob has to go check the hoses in the fuel pool but the reactor core is long gone. This one was blown by the earthquake {Shhh big secret} and might have been in meltdown before the tsunami hit, an hour and a half later.

Special credits and thanks to Ray Masalas.

January 9, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Reactor 1 Now Fully Exposed


The No. 1 reactor building at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is completely exposed after the last of 18 temporary protective covers was removed on Nov. 10.


Crippled Fukushima Reactor Fully Exposed for the First Time Since 2011 Disaster
The last cover was removed from the Fukushima-1 Nuclear Plant reactor No. 1, local media reported on November 10. Now all the temporary protective constructions have been demolished, and the reactor is completely exposed for the first time since 2011’s nuclear catastrophe.

Demolition works conducted by the plant’s operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) have been ongoing for two years. Today a large crane lifted off a 20-ton cover, the last of the 18 panels installed after the event.

The next step is the removal of 392 fuel assemblies from the spent fuel pool and melted nuclear fuel from inside the building, Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun reported

According to Japanese national broadcaster NHK, the fuel extraction will only start in four years. TEPCO is currently installing the necessary equipment and assessing the state of the reactor building’s interior in efforts to remove debris from the collapsed roof over the spent nuclear fuel pool. TEPCO has to be sure to avoid stirring the radioactive dust while shrouding the reactor building with tarpaulins.

The covers were installed in October 2011 as a temporary measure against the spread of radioactive substances after the triple meltdown of the plant.

The tragedy at the Fukushima-1 plant happened on March 11, 2011 after a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck the northeast coast of Japan, leading to the leakage of radioactive material from the plant into the surrounding environment. The nuclear accident is the largest one since the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986. It is expected to take about 40 years to entirely clean up the area.

Last cover removed from crippled reactor in Fukushima

The No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is completely exposed for the first time in five years after the last of the temporary protective covers for the crippled structure was removed Nov. 10.

The next step will be to extract nuclear fuel inside the reactor building, which was wrecked by a hydrogen explosion in the early stages of the March 2011 nuclear disaster.

The covers were installed the following October as a temporary measure against the spread of radioactive substances after the triple meltdown triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

A large crane lifted off the 20-ton cover, the last of the 18 panels installed, around 6 a.m. on Nov. 10.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. began removing the covers one by one in September.

The 392 fuel assemblies are stored in the spent nuclear fuel pool inside the building. Melted fuel also remains inside the reactor.

TEPCO will assess the state of the reactor building’s interior in efforts to remove debris from the collapse of a roof over the spent nuclear fuel pool.

It will take precautions to prevent dust containing radioactive substances from being stirred up by shrouding the reactor building with tarpaulins.


November 10, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Destroyed N°1 Nuclear Reactor Building Exposed at Fukushima Daiichi


Video shot from a Kyodo News airplane on Nov. 4, 2016, shows the destroyed No. 1 reactor building at the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, after the removal of 16 of 18 panels covering the building. Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to dismantle the remaining two panels the following week to complete the panel removal work that started in July 2015 as part of decommissioning the plant.

November 6, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Drone Inspection of Fukushima Units 1 & 2 Vent Tower



TEPCO reported on October 20th they used drones to measure radioactivity at the  reactors 1 and 2 vent tower.

Vent towers are quite unstable during earthquakes and are highly contaminated, they are therefore not easy to dismantle, even with robot

When they sent a drone into the vent tower, they found out that a bar prevented the drone to go in lower than 10-20 m below.

It’s pretty amazing that Tepco did not know that this bar was there and that they can not give its position more precisely.

TEPCO only  provided two pictures online with a laconic comment. No results of their radioactivity measuring was given. Transparency is progressing …

October 25, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sendai N°1 nuclear reactor shuttered for safety work


Nuclear reactor buildings of the Kyushu Electric’s Sendai nuclear power plant in southern Kagoshima in 2015.

Japan nuclear reactor shuttered for safety work

TOKYO: A reactor at the centre of Japan’s national debate over nuclear power was halted on Thursday (Oct 6) under stricter post-Fukushima safety standards, as Tokyo struggles to bring back atomic energy.

Utility Kyushu Electric is shutting down the No. 1 reactor at its Sendai plant in southern Kagoshima for a few months of inspections and maintenance, leaving Japan with just two operating reactors.

But there is speculation that the reactor’s safety work could drag on longer.

Thursday’s shutdown follows demands from the region’s top politician that Kyushu Electric conduct extra safety inspections at its two operating reactors in the Sendai plant – after deadly quakes hammered a neighbouring prefecture in April.

Last month, the company refused governor Satoshi Mitazono’s demands to immediately shut down the reactors over safety concerns.

But it agreed to what it called “special inspections” in addition to regular maintenance work. Sendai’s No. 2 reactor will be shut down for a similar review starting in December.

Dozens of reactors were switched off in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima accident, the worst nuclear disaster in a generation.

Anti-atomic sentiment still runs high five years later, challenging a push by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and utility companies to switch Japan’s stable of reactors back on.

The catastrophe forced resource-poor Japan to turn to expensive fossil fuels to plug its energy gap, but fears about the safety of nuclear power and radiation exposure linger.

The two Sendai reactors were restarted last year under new safety regulations brought in after Fukushima, where reactors went into meltdown in March 2011 after a huge earthquake and tsunami.

Another reactor has been restarted at the Ikata plant in western Japan.

Opposition to nuclear power has seen communities across the country file lawsuits to prevent restarts, including the Sendai plant.

The residents argued that the plant’s operator underestimated the scale of potential earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that could hit the region. A court rejected their argument and ordered restarts.

October 7, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima plant building exposed as TEPCO opens old wounds

The cover on reactor 1 was installed around the building of the devastated the reactor 1 in October 2011 and Tepco plans to dismantle it by December. It remains 17 panels of 20 tonnes to move. Inside, the spent fuel pool with 392 fuel assemblies in it, which Tepco intends to empty starting 2020 …

Now this uncovered “reactor” freely spits its radioactive lungs again in the open air. Yes that’s right. Tepco had mounted this cover to avoid polluting the air. Today we go back to square one.

The three reactors 1, 2 and 3 have lost their seal and radionuclides roam freely. There is simply no way to seal leaks. Even when the pool will be emptied, the problem will still be the same.

The levels of radioactivity escaping from the three reactors are unknown until Tepco wants to give us some figures, still without any true independent body to verify.

13 sept 2016 removal cover reactor 1.jpg


The devastated outer layer of Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant’s No. 1 reactor building has been exposed for the first time in almost five years in the painstaking reactor decommissioning process.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. began removing on Sept. 13 the exterior walls of the cover installed around the structure to prevent the dispersal of radioactive materials on Sept. 13.

Shortly past 6 a.m., a large crane began removing a massive piece of the cover installed around the reactor building. The panel dismantled that day measured 23 by 17 meters and weighed 20 tons.

The cover was installed in October 2011 as a temporary measure after a nuclear meltdown occurred following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March that year. The meltdown caused a hydrogen explosion, blowing the walls off the building.

Once the cover is dismantled, the operator can assess the state of the building’s interiors and remove the debris fallen onto the spent fuel pool inside.

Steady progress is necessary in reconstruction, but we hope they will carry on the procedure with safety as the No. 1 priority,” said a Fukushima prefectural government official.

TEPCO said that it plans to remove the remaining 17 panels of the covering by the end of the year. The portion covering the roof has already been removed.

Once the cover is removed, the utility will begin drawing up plans to remove the 392 fuel assemblies from the spent fuel pool and melted nuclear fuel from inside the building.

The plant operator said that it plans to be extra careful during the procedure. It will shroud the building in tarpaulins once the cover is removed as a precautionary measure against dust and other materials containing radioactive materials from being carried aloft by the wind.

The utility and central government’s joint schedule for the decommissioning process of the reactor states that the removal of the fuel rods from the pool will start in fiscal 2020.


September 30, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan Extends Reactor Lifetimes for First Time Since Fukushima

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) this June approved 20-year license extensions for the aging Takahama 1 and 2 reactors, a first for the power-strapped country that has been conflicted about the future of its nuclear power plants since the Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe in 2011.

A regulatory system established in the aftermath of Fukushima limits the operating lives of Japanese nuclear units to 40 years, though it allows a one-time extension of no more than 20 years. The NRA’s approval to allow the 40-year-old Takahama 1 and 39-year-old Takahama 2 to operate an additional 20 years was carried out as an “extraordinary case.” Kansai Electric Power Co., which owns the two 826-MW reactors, filed applications for the extensions in April 2015, as well as for its 826-MW Mihama 3 reactor in November 2015, saying that they were “important” for its business.

Under its revised long-term energy plan, Japan anticipates getting between 20% and 22% of its total generated electricity from nuclear power by 2030, and industry groups like the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum have argued that the lifetime extensions will be integral to meeting that target.

Four of the nation’s nuclear power plants idled after Fukushima have so far cleared the new regulatory standards required to resume operations, but only Sendai 1 and 2, which are owned and operated by Kyushu Electric Power Co., are online. Kansai started up its Takahama 3 reactor on January 29 and Takahama 4 on February 26, but it took Unit 4 offline just three days later following a “main transformer/generator internal failure” (Figure 1). It was then forced to halt operations at Unit 3 on March 10 after Japan’s Otsu District Court issued a temporary injunction against the operation of both reactors because, the court said, the safety of the units could not be guaranteed. On July 12, Otsu District Court Judge Yoshihiko Yamamoto rejected Kansai’s request to lift the injunction. Kansai now says that—though it has filed to appeal the court’s decision to the Osaka High Court—it will begin removing nuclear fuel from the reactor cores.

takahama npp oi district, fukui prefecture.jpg

One step forward, two steps back. While Japan’s Kansai Electric Power Co. received Nuclear Regulation Authority approval to extend the lifetimes of Units 1 and 2 at its Takahama Nuclear Power Plant in Oi District, Fukui Prefecture, to 60 years, it has been forced to halt operations at Units 3 and 4 by a temporary injunction issued by a district court.

Meanwhile, applications for 22 more nuclear plant restarts have been filed with the NRA. According to a 2017 economic and energy outlook released by the Institute of Energy Economics of Japan (IEEJ) in late July, at least 12 nuclear power plants should be restarted next year. The research group notes, however, that those projections are clouded by a number of issues, including court judgments and local agreements. That uncertainty could come at a significant cost to the nation, it added.

Because of the judicial ruling that ceased operations at the Takahama Unit No. 3 and 4, it is important to analyse the effect of stopping operations of nuclear power plants from a local point of view,” the IEEJ’s outlook says. “As a rule, if one nuclear plant with the capacity of 1 MW stops operation for one year in an area where annual demand is about 100 TWh, total fossil fuel costs increase by [$594 million] and the energy-related [carbon dioxide] emissions increases by 4 Mt-CO2 (7% increase for the local emissions). The average electricity unit cost will increase by [$3.96/MWh] (1.8% rise of the average power unit price).”

September 1, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment