Tepco Video Shows Suspected Fuel Debris

TEPCO video shows suspected fuel debris

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has released video shot during a survey of what's believed to be fuel debris in its No. 2 reactor.

In the survey on Wednesday, a device for the first time made contact with the debris believed to be a mixture of molten nuclear fuel and structural parts.

Tokyo Electric Power Company officials say they were able to move pebble-like deposits at the bottom of the reactor's containment vessel.

An edited version of the footage, which lasts nearly seven minutes, shows the device grabbing brownish deposits and pebble-like objects and lifting them about three to five centimeters.

The objects measured up to about eight centimeters across.

Officials say the objects were so rigid that they didn't deform or break up.

The device is designed to lift up to around 2 kilograms. But officials say it could not move one flat object. They believe the object is relatively solid because the device could not scratch its surface.

The device could not lift other deposits as well, suggesting that different equipment such as cutting tools may be required to remove them. Officials say they will conduct detailed studies on how to do so.

The utility has been exploring ways to remove the debris, with the most progress seen in the No. 2 unit.

It plans to take out small amounts of samples from the reactor in the latter half of fiscal 2019.