Five Years Later, TEPCO Still Can’t Locate 600 Tons Of Melted Radioactive Fuel
Five years after the Fukushima tragedy, TEPCO’s chief of decommissioning Naohiro Masuda admits that the company still has no idea exactly where 600 tons of melted radioactive fuel from three nuclear reactors is located.
As we discussed when we profiled the status of Fukushima on its five year anniversary, the radiation at the plant is still so powerful that it is impossible to get deep enough into the area to find and remove the melted fuel rods. The situation is so severe that even the robots that were sent in to find the highly radioactive fuel have died.
Masuda went on to say that the company still hopes to locate and remove the missing fuel, but the fuel extraction technology is yet to be determined – that assumes they are able to locate it of course.
“It’s important to find it as soon as possible. Once we can find out the condition of the melted fuel and identify its location, I believe we can develop the necessary tools to retrieve it.” said Masuda.
Of course, this is easier said than done as everyone knows – as RT points out, if the radioactivity flux killed the robots that were sent in to find the material, human exploration is obviously out of the question. The first major hurdle in this effort is to first locate the material, let alone be able to find a way to extract it.
As a reminder, when the 2011 tsunami caused the meltdown, uranium fuel of three power generating reactors gained critical temperature and burnt through the respective reactor pressure vessels, concentrating somewhere on the lower levels of the station that is currently filled with water.