Science

Fukushima Melted Nuclear Core Finally Discovered By Robot 6 Years After Nuclear Disaster

Good job!

On March 11, 2011, there was a tsunami caused by the Tōhoku earthquake triggered a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Ōkuma, Fukushima.

For the very first time, a team has had the opportunity to capture photos of melted uranium fuel present inside its ruined Unit 3 reactor.

The incident caused 3 of the facility’s 6 nuclear reactors to melt down. When this happened, their uranium fuel rods turned into liquid, melting through layers of concrete and steel.

This made it almost impossible for people investigating the incident after the fact to ascertain where the uranium had ended up.

When plant employees pumped water into the reactor buildings the rods were cooled, however, there wasn’t any way to realize how far they had traveled.

It required three days for four engineers to pilot a tiny drone called the Mini-Manbo throughout the corridors of buildings that were flooded to find the uranium.

Although previous attempts to use robots like these had been unsuccessful, the new model was built from materials that are unaffected by radiation and equipped with a detector that let it avoid particularly dangerous areas.

This breakthrough is being touted as a watershed for the efforts of the Japanese government to answer the crisis.

As the cleanup process starts in earnest, the majority are taking it as a sign that the catastrophe has finally come to an end.

“Until today, we did not know precisely where the fuel was, or exactly what it looked like,” said Takahiro Kimoto, a general manager at the company that controlled the functioning of the plant’s nuclear power arm, according to a written report from the New York Times.

“Now that we’ve observed it, we could make plans to retrieve it.”

Check out the footage below to determine the potential fuel debris captured on video:

About 7,000 people have been at work on the location of the nuclear plant building new water storage tanks, building scaffoldings over the poorly damaged reactor buildings and helping to threw away the radioactive debris.

The degree of protection needed to work on-site is slowly being scaled back.

One year ago, special clothing was demanded in every area. Today, street clothes are allowed everywhere with the exception of the parts of the facility that remain extremely radioactive.

The next step will be initiating the elimination of the melted uranium fuel from one of the reactors, which is anticipated to start in 2021.

Nevertheless, authorities haven’t selected yet which reactor is going to be addressed first. It’s anticipated to take from 30 to 40 years to complete cleaning up the plant, and also the project will cost tens of billions of dollars.

In spite of the huge consequences of the Fukushima disaster, it is very important to admit that nuclear energy is not inherently dangerous.

There are some ways to safely use nuclear reactors to generate power. It’s a significant consideration, as there are well-documented drawbacks to using kinds of energy that have become more widely recognized and normalized than nuclear power.

 

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