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TEPCO begins probe to make 1st contact with nuke debris at Fukushima plant via The Mainichi

TOKYO — A probe to make the first contact with nuclear fuel debris inside the No. 2 reactor at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima started on Feb. 13, the plant’s operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said.

The examination using a remotely operated device, which began shortly after 7 a.m., will try to hold and lift the debris and check its status on the floor of the reactor’s containment vessel. The device has two roughly 3-centimeter-long “fingers” — capable of holding an object up to 2 kilograms in weight — attached to its 30-centimeter-long, camera-mounted tip. The equipment was placed inside the vessel via a pipe that can be expanded from 11 meters to 15 meters in length. The debris will remain inside the reactor throughout the test.

[…]

The damaged reactors released a massive amount of radioactive materials into the air, forcing hundreds of thousands of nearby residents to flee their homes.

(Japanese original by Toshiyuki Suzuki, Science & Environment News Department)

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