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Robots Sent To Clean Up Fukushima Power Plant Have “Died”

The Fukushima power plant

Image credit: The Fukushima power plant two years after the meltdown in 2013. IAEA Imagebank/Flick CC BY-SA 2.0

After the robots were sent into Fukushima’s no-man’s land, they did not come back, because radiation levels in the power plant were tested to be so strong that their circuit boards failed to deal with.

Five years ago in 2011, a tsunami severely destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station and this coastal power plant had experienced three meltdowns. Up to now, the clean-up is still going on in the region. The huge presence of deathly radiation posed such a great threat that humans were unable to reach the region of the plant in order to dispose of or contain the radioactivite materials. And at this moment, robots were facing the similar fate as the mankind.

TEPCO and Toshiba had developed some custom-built robots being able to go underwater in damaged cooling pools of the plant for the purpose of removing the radioactive nuclear rods. And five of such robots had been engaged in this mission. However, none of them had turned up again, because when they reached the reactors, their wiring was totally damaged by the high levels of radioactivity and therefore they were unable to move.

In the interview with Reuters, Naohiro Masuda, Tepco’s head of decommissioning, said, it would take two years to develop a single-function robot. With the radiation as the biggest obstacle, it was extremely difficult to go deep into the nuclear plant.

Main image: IAEA Imagebank/Flick CC BY-SA 2.0

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