Japan’s Tepco tests drones for wrecked nuclear plant in first decommissioning

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Japan's Tepco tests drones for wrecked nuclear plant in first decommissioning
Japan's Tepco tests drones for wrecked nuclear plant in first decommissioning

Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) concluded testing on Tuesday of the first drones to be deployed to the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi plant during its decades-long decommissioning process.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), the operator of a Japanese nuclear power station, completed testing on Tuesday of the first drones to be deployed to the devastated Fukushima Daiichi plant during its decades-long decommissioning.

A snake-shaped robot and four drones will be launched in February to assess the damage at Fukushima Daiichi’s Unit 1 reactor, nearly 13 years after its core melted down and triggered a hydrogen blast in one of the worst nuclear disasters in history.

Although robots have scanned the submerged interior of the Unit 1 reactor’s containment tank, Tepco says this will be the first time a drone enters the vessel to provide a more complete image of the damage above water.

Tepco expects that the drone pictures will help assess how to remove the melted fuel debris.

“We will make sure to conduct this investigation with a safety-first mindset, checking the procedures and instructions one by one and ensuring safety at all times,” a source from Tepco said.

The nuclear reactor in Unit 1 was the first to begin melting down after a large tsunami hit Japan’s east coast in March 2011.

It is believed to be the most severely damaged of the four reactors that were operational that day, and Tepco is still working to determine the extent of the damage and how to extract the melted fuel, a task that experts predict would take decades.

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