via NHK World / November 14, 2013 / A robot at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has for the first time identified exactly where highly radioactive water is leaking from a reactor.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, on Wednesday succeeded in sending a remote-controlled robot close to the lower part of the No.1 reactor’s containment vessel.
The lower section is filled with contaminated water injected to cool molten nuclear fuel. Extremely high radiation levels have hampered efforts to probe that section.
A camera on the robot captured images of water leaking from 2 holes in the containment vessel into the building housing the reactor.
TEPCO engineers say they’re not sure how much water is leaking. But they say one of the leaks looks as if tap water is gushing out.
Radiation levels in the area were extremely high at 0.9 to 1.8 sieverts an hour.
Engineers suspect that damage to containment vessels at the No. 2 and 3 reactors is also causing similar leaks of highly radioactive water.
They say Wednesday’s finding is important not only in solving water contamination problems but also in carrying out decommissioning. TEPCO will continue to use robots to look for other leaks.