Fukushima: robot images show massive deposits thought to be melted nuclear fuel

An underwater robot surveying the No. 3 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant

One of the several fearless robots to make one-way trips into Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant's severely damaged reactors has accomplished what its less fortunate compatriots did not, sending back photos of what appears to be melted nuclear fuel from the interior of the ruined facility.

A survey on Friday found black icicles hanging from the above pressure vessel, which was "highly likely" to contain melted fuel.

The search for the molten fuel had always been stymied, however, as extensive damage and staggering levels of radiation have proven insurmountable even for some of the robots invented to probe Fukushima ― some of which have "died" while attempting to approach the facility's reactors.

Dismantling reactor No. 3 has been complicated by the extreme levels of radioactivity inside it. The melted fuel has rendered the reactors so radioactive that a human being could be killed within minutes of nearing one.

"Never before have we taken such clear pictures of what could be melted fuel", utility official Takahiro Kimoto told reporters, per Bloomberg.

Palestinian leader halts security co-operation with Israel
Netanyahu was also holding a cabinet meeting and was due to meet with his security cabinet later in the day, reported AFP. Jordan's official ties with Israel remain deeply unpopular in the kingdom, which has a large Palestinian population.

The company aims to decide on the procedure to remove the melted fuel from each unit as soon as this summer.

Removing the nuclear fuel is one of the most crucial steps in a cleanup that may consume up to four decades. And it will confirm the procedure for the first reactor during the fiscal year ending March 2019, with fuel removal slated to begin in 2021.

The Fukushima disaster, triggered by a massive quake and tsunami in March of 2011, was one of the worst nuclear accidents in history.

The images marked the first confirmation through a robot probe of a large amount of nuclear debris in any of the embattled No. 1 through No. 3 reactors.

The condition of fuel debris inside the damaged reactors remains unknown, even though six years have passed since a huge quake and subsequent tsunami triggered a nuclear disaster at the seaside plant.

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