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Fukushima: New photos show reactor damage

Fukushima: New photos show reactor damage

New images taken by a robot inside a destroyed reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (northeastern Japan) revealed significant damage to its foundations and a large amount of radioactive debris.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), operator of the plant being dismantled, on Tuesday published excerpts from these images taken inside Reactor No. 1, one of the three reactors whose cores collapsed in 2011 after an earthquake followed by a massive tsunami.

“There are areas that we haven’t been able to see” inside this reactor, but the damage may have been “extensive in many places,” a TEPCO official said during a press conference.

In particular, the video clip showed crumbling concrete walls showing rebar and debris piled half a meter high.

These images illustrate once again the massive task of clearing and dismantling Fukushima Daiichi, which must have taken decades.

In reactors 1 through 3, fuel and other materials melted during the disaster and then solidified into highly radioactive debris.

Thus, this waste can only be extracted by remotely controlled robots. But the start of this highly complex operation has been delayed by the pandemic and technical difficulties.

“Because of the high levels of radiation inside the reactors, I understand that robots that use semiconductors do not perform as well” as expected, Fukushima Prefectural Governor Masao said at a press conference on Monday.

The governor demanded that TEPCO conduct new anti-seismic tests at the plant, while its constituents are concerned about the worsening of the situation at the site in the event of a new large-scale natural disaster.