According to scientists, the radiation levels at Fukushima are so high that they are able to MELT robot camera probes that are sent into the reactors. The situation is beyond worrying.
Reports indicate that radiation levels inside Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant have hit a record high. In fact, the radiation levels are so dangerous that they literally kill off robots which are sent into the reactors.
This situation is beyond worrying according to experts and casts doubt over how the nuclear plant will be safely dismantled in the near future.
Latest reports indicate that radiation levels inside the plant’s No. 2 reactor have hit 530 sieverts per hour. These results were obtained after a manually operated robot, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) reached the deepest point within the reactors.
According to TEPCO, the radiation is NOT leaking outside the reactor. Previous numbers, detected by sensors in 2012 were 73 sieverts per hour. Compared to the new 530 sieverts per hour, the situation is beyond worrying.
However, TEPCO said that the latest reading is focused on a single point in the reactor and that radiation levels are very likely to be much lower at other areas.
It is noteworthy to mention that TEPCO’s radiation readings were made by a radiation-resistant robot probe.
The Caterpillar-type robot used to investigate the situation inside the catastrophe-hit nuclear reactor is a 60-centimeter long robot which has lamps at the front, and is constructed to operate like a snake, crawling through a 10-centimeter wide pipe into the containment vessel.
Once the robot reaches its designated area, it flips into a U-shaped crawler and sends back life images as well as temperature and radiation levels.
Last year, Japan said that 190 billion dollars and an operation that will last for DECADES are required to clean up the area. The super high radiation levels have proven to be one of the greatest problems scientists are facing.
TEPCO plans to use more robots in the future to locate the fuel debris, as part of the decommissioning process.
So far, experts have found that the metal grating located under the pressure vessel which contained the nuclear fuel has sunken in, creating a one-meter-wide hole.
Camera footage revealed terraces of black debris, which experts believe could be melted fuel.
Scientists speculate that nuclear fuel may have melted trough the vessel and damaged the grating. However, the exact cause is still unknown.
Speaking to AFP, TEPCO spokesman Tatsuhiro Yamagishi said:
“It may have been caused by nuclear fuel that would have melted and made a hole in the vessel, but it is only a hypothesis at this stage. We believe the captured images offer very useful information, but we still need to investigate given that it is very difficult to assume the actual condition inside.”