The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has unveiled a robot that will be used to examine a damaged reactor. The probe is expected to begin this summer as part of a long-term plan to remove molten fuel.
Tokyo Electric Power Company gave a media preview on Thursday of the boat-shaped submersible robot that will be sent inside the container vessel of the No.1 reactor.
TEPCO says this is one of six types of robots that will be used to confirm the presence of nuclear debris, or deposits of a mixture of molten fuel and reactor parts. Previous probes have already confirmed the presence of nuclear debris at the No.2 and No.3 reactors.
The robot unveiled on Thursday is about 110 centimeters long and 25 centimeters in diameter, and is equipped with cameras and dosimeters. It will set up equipment for installing cables needed for remote-control operations.
Five other types of robots will be used to perform other tasks.
TEPCO plans to begin the probe by this summer, and hopes to collect a small sample of sediment from the bottom of the container vessel.
The submersible robot was developed by Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy. An official of the firm, Yoshio Nonaka, expressed hope that the robot will prove useful in obtaining a broad picture of what is inside the reactor.