The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster took place on 11 March 2011 due to the Tohoku earthquake that generated a massive tsunami. Six years later, the area is still a toxic site despite Japan’s efforts to decontaminate it. Humans would be exposed to severe life risks after a prolonged staying in the region. Therefore, officials decided to send a swimming droid to survey the status of the Fukushima nuclear plant that is currently underwater.
Japanese Officials Intend to Locate Underwater Melted Nuclear Fuel
On Wednesday, officials deployed a robot in the waters of Fukushima to examine the source of the 2011 nuclear disaster. This is about a containment vessel that belongs to the Unit 3 reactor of the plant. Operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced that the mission was successful. The smart droid dubbed as “Little Sunfish” was unharmed after a day’s work.
Spokesman Takahiro Kimoto at TEPCO stated that the Japanese equipment managed to capture insightful pictures of the underwater damage. This is the first time the country got to see the real outcome of the 2011 disaster. Even though researchers didn’t obtain what they really needed, there is still time for the swimming droid to reach its purpose.
The Swimming Droid Faces Constant Damages due to Radioactive Waters
Scientists intend to use this machine to locate clear signs of melted nuclear fuel. The Little Sunfish is going to resume operations on Friday after finding retreatment inside a reactor near a pedestal. The robot itself is a masterpiece of today’s technology. Even though its size is no larger than a loaf of bread, it is extremely responsive to remote control. Its five propellers are enough to survey vast areas and collect data with a set of two cameras and a dosimeter.
So far, the machine managed to reveal a certain extent of the encountered damages. For instance, an entire grate platform was declared missing as well as other key parts of a control rod. However, the team behind this procedure fears that their lucky Sunfish might share the same fate with its predecessors. The waters are extremely radioactive and had so far damaged other droids as well.
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