• Kyodo News


The government intends to use a small U.S. remote-controlled aircraft to check radiation levels around spent nuclear fuel pools at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, sources said.

Use of the T-Hawk drone, which is capable of hovering and moving vertically, was proposed by the U.S. government, the sources said. The U.S. military has employed it in reconnaissance operations in Iraq and other countries.

Reportedly measuring about 35 cm in diameter, the T-Hawk has been described as a “micro air vehicle.”

Pools at the plant housing spent nuclear fuel rods are open to the air and Tokyo Electric Power Co. has been pouring massive amounts of water into them to cool them down.

Because water contaminated with radioactive materials can flow out of the pools, machines to cool them with recycled water need to be reactivated as soon as possible. Workers, however, are unable to approach the pools.

With U.S. officials especially concerned about the No. 4 reactor, the drone is expected to be first used to examine its radiation levels.

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