Toshiba makes underwater robot for Fukushima monitoring
Device will give workers first peek inside No. 3 reactor
TOKYO -- Toshiba and the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning unveiled Thursday an underwater robot that will examine the interior of the containment vessel at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant's No. 3 reactor as early a mid-July.
Fuel debris in the reactor lies under about six meters of water. The device has been modified to withstand the radioactive conditions.
The cylindrical robot is 13cm in diameter and 30cm long. It is supplied with power and communicates with its handlers via a cable extending from the back. Expected to be deployed as soon as mid-July, it can advance around 30 meters and operate for 10-20 hours at a time.
Entering from the containment vessel's side, the robot will take images via cameras mounted on its front and back. Considerable nuclear fuel is thought to have melted down in the No. 3 reactor in the 2011 disaster, but conditions inside the unit are not known. Images snapped by the robot will help in formulating a plan to recover the molten fuel.