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TEPCO to begin robot probe of Fukushima reactor

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station says it will launch a probe of the inside of the No.1 reactor on Wednesday using robots. The firm is seeking to clear debris from the reactor interior as part of the decommissioning process.


Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says the probe will involve six types of robots, each with a different function.


It says the survey will continue for more than six months. It will use ultrasonic devices to locate and measure the thickness of debris believed to be submerged under water inside the reactor containment vessel.


The utility says it also hopes to collect small samples of the debris.


TEPCO says it will use a robot to install a cover on a path for the survey machines to move smoothly under water.


The No.1, 2 and 3 reactors of the plant suffered meltdowns in the massive earthquake and tsunami of 2011.


TEPCO confirmed the existence of what is believed to be solid fuel debris inside the No.2 and 3 reactors, but not inside the No.1 reactor. The debris consists of molten nuclear fuel and metal parts.


Fukushima Daiichi Decontamination & Decommissioning Engineering Company, which was established by TEPCO, said on Thursday it will use the robots to gather information before considering how to remove the debris.

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