Tepco to send sediment-cleaning robot into stricken Fukushima reactor

JIJI

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. said Monday that it will use a robot cleaner to remove sediment inside reactor 2 at its disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The move is designed to make a full-fledged investigation into the reactor by another robot with cameras and dosimeters easier.

The robot cleaner, to be placed in the reactor on Tuesday, will jet high-pressure water to remove sediment in the way of the investigative robot.

The sediment may contain melted nuclear fuel in addition to corrosive coating materials.

The robot cleaner will blow away sediment with water at pressures of some 7.5 megapascals and remove remaining fragments with a device similar in shape to a snowplow.

With cameras on its back and front, the robot cleaner will record the inside of reactor 2 where meltdown took place following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Radiation levels will be estimated from the recorded images.