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In the Network appeared the first photos of the melted reactor, "Fukushima"

24 July 2017, 01:55 | Hattie Nash

Melted nuke fuel images show struggle facing Fukushima plant

Robot finds possible melted fuel in Fukushima reactor

Images captured on July 22 of solidified nuclear fuel debris at the bottom of a containment vessel of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant show the enormity of decommissioning of the facility.

The operator of the nuclear power plant, hit by the 2011 nuclear disaster, announced the results of the third round of its probe into the containment vessel of the No. 3 reactor using an aquatic robot.

"There is a high possibility that the solidified objects are mixtures of melted metal and fuel that fell from the vessel."

The condition of fuel debris inside the damaged reactors remains unknown, even though six years have passed since a huge quake and subsequent tsunami triggered a nuclear disaster at the seaside plant.

The three-day investigation of Unit 3 ended on Saturday.

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Locating the fuel debris is a key part of the decommissioning process for the plant, which is expected to take decades.

The disaster killed more than 18,500 people and sent three reactors into meltdown at the plant in the worst such accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

The robot was introduced by the company on previous occasions to investigate the inside of the other two reactors but failed to assess the exact state of the fuel debris.

Because of the high radioactivity levels inside the reactor, only specially designed robots can probe the unit. When the utility sent a different robot into reactor 2 in January, it found black lumps sticking to the grating in the primary containment vessel but said they were hard to identify.

Further detailing the sightings, BBC News wrote that some of the possible nuclear fuel deposits were similar in appearance to icicles, as they hung around a control rod mechanism found at the bottom of Unit 3's pressure vessel.

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