Pieces of molten nuclear fuel found in the flooded Fukushima reactor

(ORDO NEWS) — Images taken by a remotely controlled probe show mountains of molten nuclear fuel at the bottom of the active zone of the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant reactor. 11 years ago, an accident occurred on it, due to which the reactor stopped working.

It is assumed that inside the damaged reactors is about 900 tons of molten nuclear fuel.

Last week, a robot deployed by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) collected these eerie images, according to The Associated Press. Significant formations of molten nuclear fuel were found in Reactor 1, one of three Fukushima-1 reactors that melted after the devastating tsunami in 2011.

A TEPCO spokesman said that such observations seem plausible, but more research will be needed in the future to verify this.

The meltdown of the three cores of the reactor occurred as a result of a strong earthquake and tsunami, the last of which damaged the cooling systems at the nuclear power plant.

Highly radioactive fuel reached the bottom of the containment and remains there to this day. About 900 tons of molten nuclear fuel are believed to be inside the damaged reactors, including 280 tons in Reactor 1.

It will not be easy to remove this garbage. TEPCO hopes to clean it all up within thirty to forty years. But the lack of a coherent plan and a credible strategy to remove the material makes this prediction not the most plausible.

Exacerbating this problem is the question of what to do with a large amount of radioactive water, which does not allow damaged cores to melt further. Japan seems to have had enough of getting rid of this sewage by dumping it back into the ocean.

However, before TEPCO can begin to remove the melted fuel, it needs to understand where the toxic substances are located at the plant. In 2017, an explorer robot was sent to Reactor 2, but it was difficult for him to move around the damaged building.

In the end, the robot died from strong radiation. Another robot, sent in 2017, was able to take pictures of the alleged molten nuclear fuel in Reactor No. 3. In 2019, the robot picked up several particles of radioactive debris inside Reactor No. 2.

On Tuesday, February 8, TEPCO once again sent a remote-controlled robot to reactor No. 1, AP reports. The camera-equipped robot traveled to places inaccessible for more than a decade to chart a path for future probes.

In addition to the radioactive fuel dump, the bot managed to photograph flooded structures, pipes and various debris. In some places, the cooling water in Reactor 1 is 2 meters deep, according to the AP.


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