Tepco gives up on recovering second robot in Fukushima’s reactor 1


Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Monday it has given up attempts to recover a second shape-shifting robot sent in to check the damaged primary containment vessel of reactor 1 at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The second robot, deployed Wednesday to measure radiation in the vessel, was working properly but saw a monitoring camera essential to its recovery break down, Tepco said.

The electronics of the camera were apparently damaged by the high radiation in the PCV, the utility said. When powered up, the camera is designed to work for 10 hours in the intense radiation, but Tepco was unable to switch it on Saturday.

The camera is needed to monitor the remotely controlled robot for retrieval. The robot assumed a new shape to conduct the survey after crawling through a narrow pipe to enter the vessel.

The camera breakdown will not affect the surveys, the company said.

The first survey robot, dispatched on April 10, got stuck in the PCV after covering about two-thirds of its planned route and remains inside.

  • Liars N. Fools

    TEPCO — cannot run nuclear plants safely. Cannot operate robots competently. What can TEPCO do?

    • Al

      How dare you worry? It’s fine, it’s under control, they say so, don’t you believe them word for word? That’s not reasonable. Relax, in ten years, there will be an army of robots that could work for 10 days under those “lower than expected” radiation levels. Of course it’s another story if they get to the cores irradiating at 150-200sv/h or so (assuming they’re hopefully still in the plant) but in several decades it will be contained. People should not be allowed to exercise a critical judgment, it may contract “conservative estimates” like when the gov says there will be 2% economic growth when they know that it’s impossible to attain it. This is not lies ;)

    • Starviking

      Well, I’m sure anyone else could easily operate remote-control robots with a limited field-of-view in a high radiation environment scattered with debris…

      • Al

        Come on at least someone sane would be transparent, share all of the data with the public and say humbly that perhaps they don’t have a clue how to deal with this mess yet or stated otherwise by a person in charge, the technology to deal with Fukushima is not available… It would give some further incentives to the courts that examine the appeals of the nuke companies willing to restart the plants in Japan to fully appreciate how the industry is able to deal with an unforeseen emergency issue in a country that is in a seismic zone ! That would be a good start.

      • Starviking

        Transparent? Like informing the public that their first robotic foray was stopped because the robot got snagged on something?

        Like reporting that the second one would be abandoned after its camera failed?

        Like releasing video of the above?

      • Al

        Like showing the videos at breadth and length ;) The entire video is an industrial secret but the carefully selected minutes are not ? What does transparency mean, why twisting the meaning? Why not releasing the entire data on Fukushima right now? No matter the argument the pro-nukes will always rebut everything their opponents say, they will never humbly and directly recognise that when there is an unforeseen nuclear disaster such as this, there isn’t much that can be done at the present state of technology except for leaving one’s fate to chance. I will accept all of the arguments when the technology would be readily available to contain and address Fukushima!

      • Starviking

        All the video? Do you think they are hiding something?

      • Al

        I am by nature a sceptic of communication campaigns, by definition it often means that the disclosure at that point in time is controlled and results in the info that suits the issuers best interests.