Waterproof camera set to probe pool in No. 4

by Kanako Takahara

Staff Writer

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday it will use a waterproof camera to see if the fuel rods in its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant reactor 4’s spent-fuel storage pool are damaged.

Tepco hopes to learn the status of the spent fuel, which, along with a dearth of credible information from the utility, played a key role in the U.S. setting of an 80-km evacuation zone for its citizens around the plant.

Of high concern is the water level in the exposed storage pool, its radiation level and temperature. Tepco will also take a water sample from the pool as it did on April 12.

The camera and other sensors will be attached to a crane truck that has been equipped with a long pumping hose to keep the pool filled so the fuel rods don’t burn up and spread more radiation. Tepco said the spent fuel rods are probably 2 to 3 meters under the water now.

Tepco wants to see if the 140 tons of water it’s injecting every two days is sufficient to offset evaporation and leaks and keep the rods submerged.