Camera probe inside damaged Fukushima reactor shows no big obstacles

27 January 2017

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) inserted a pipe mounted with a tiny video camera into the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at its Fukushima Daiichi plant, crippled by the 2011 nuclear accident, and took a video on Jan. 26 in preparation for a robot investigation into the conditions of molten fuel debris. The video footage showed a track along which an autonomous robot is to proceed during its probe set for February, confirming the absence of any major obstacles.

In the probe, the pipe about 8.5 meters long, with a camera atop, was inserted through a hole on the wall of the vessel and shot an area around the hole and the upper portion of a railing -- along which a robot is to run in the February probe -- used for the exchange of vessel parts. The camera was able to capture footage of a portion about 2.3 meters short of the pedestal that the reactor vessel sits on top of, but the video also showed what appeared to be steam.

TEPCO officials said the probe could not confirm any object that would hamper the approach of a robot. The utility inserted a longer, extendable pipe with a built-in camera on Jan. 30 to shoot the vicinity of space directly below the pressure vessel for confirmation of the presence of obstacles and other purposes.

(Translated by Kyodo News)