New Fukushima robot probe of No. 2 reactor halted by camera glitch

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Preparations to further examine the inside of the No. 2 reactor at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant were halted Thursday by a technical glitch, the plant’s manager said.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., better known as Tepco, said it sent a robot with a high-pressure water nozzle into the primary containment vessel, which houses the pressure vessel, but halted the operation after video images from the robot’s camera went dark.

Tepco said the high radiation might have caused the camera glitch. The camera was designed to withstand 1,000 sieverts of cumulative exposure.

Last week, the beleaguered utility said it estimated the radiation in the primary containment vessel to be as high as 530 sieverts per hour, during a similar probe late last month. The radiation reading during the Thursday’s operation was 650 sieverts, Tepco said.

Following the survey last month, some media ran reports suggesting the radiation levels at the crisis-hit Fukushima plant had risen recently, with some quoting unnamed experts as calling the levels unimaginable.

In the work suspended Thursday, a robot was to spray high-pressure water to remove deposits as thick as 2 cm, believed to be the melted remains of paint and cable coating, from along a 7-meter-long rail leading to an area beneath the pressure vessel, which holds the core. (Click to Article)

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