The owner of the wrecked Fukushima No. 1 power plant is trying this week to touch melted fuel at the bottom of the plant for the first time since the disaster almost eight years ago, a tiny but key step toward retrieving the radioactive material amid a ¥21.5 trillion ($195 billion) cleanup effort.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. will on Wednesday insert a robot developed by Toshiba Corp. to make contact with material believed to contain melted fuel inside the containment vessel of the unit 2 reactor, one of three units that melted down after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The Toshiba machine weighs about 1 kilogram and is equipped with a camera, thermometer and dosimeter, and has tongs that can check the solidity of deposits and lift roughly 2 kg, according to Hara and the company’s website.
Japan aims by March 2020 to determine how to collect melted fuel from at least one of the three reactors and start retrieving it in 2021, according to a government road map. Decommissioning of the plant is estimated to take 30 to 40 years.
Read more at Tepco to deploy robot for first contact with melted fuel from Fukushima No. 1 nuclear disaster