A robot operating inside a failed reactor at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant has captured what appears to be melted nuclear fuel, the plant's operator said. Edward Baran reports.
These are images from inside Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear plant. An underwater robot entered one of the submerged reactors through a pipe designed to prevent the escape of radioactive gas, The video shows lava-like lumps that suggest there may be melted nuclear fuel inside the damaged No. 3 reactor Finding the highly radioactive melted fuel rods may pave the way to develop methods to remove it. The reactor was one of three that had meltdowns in 2011 in the world's worst nuclear calamity since Chernobyl. The Fukushima facility had been hit by a tsunami after a massive magnitude 9 earthquake. Robots have been developed that can swim under water and negotiate obstacles in damaged tunnels and piping to search for the melted fuel rods. If confirmed, the discovery of melted nuclear fuel would be a milestone in the clean-up operation. Removing it and decommissioning the site could still take decades.