Robot Discovers Source of Water Leaks Inside Fukushima
Robot moved around the plant for three days before it found the source of the leaks.
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Jun 05, 2014

Bloomberg BusinesWeek is reporting that a robot inside Unit 1 of the Fukushima nuclear power plant has discovered the source of water leaks delaying decommissioning work.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) says a robot designed by Hitachi-GE Nuclear energy "for the first time took clear pictures showing water drips from the reactor containment vessel into the building’s basement via an elastic pipe joint," reports Bloomberg.

Here's more from Bloomberg:

"The robot was lowered into the Unit 1 suppression chamber on May 27 and maneuvered inside for three days, Tepco said. The machine took still and video images while being controlled from hundreds of meters away ... Last November Tepco placed a remote-controlled boat inside Unit 1's basement in an effort to find the source of the leaks. The vessel couldn’t provide enough precision to identify the source, Tepco said."

Until the leaks can be plugged, the plant must continue to pump out the contaminated water and then store and filter it to remove the radioactive material.

Radiation inside Unit 1 measured as high as 10 sieverts per hour months after the disaster, according to Tepco, which is enough to kill a person "within a few weeks."

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is believed to have suffered four leaks since the disaster occurred on March 11, 2011, resulting in a meltdown of three of the plant's six nuclear reactors.

The failure occurred when the plant was hit by a 45-foot tsunami that was caused by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake. S day later the facility began leaking large amounts of radioactive material, becoming the largest nuclear incident since Chernobyl.

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