The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has developed a robot named “Little sunfish” so as to explore the Fukushima nuclear plant. The nuclear disaster has left many people disabled and run for their lives away from the place. The underwater robot has been able to capture the images of the melted nuclear fuel deposits. The study of the reactor has not been possible due to the toxic and high temperature present around the solidified lava-like rocks and lumps present in unit three of the metal reactor.
If the study of the reactor is possible, then the clearing up operation of the reactor can be started as soon as possible. The 2011 tsunami had led to the occurrence of the nuclear power plant reactor leakage. After the disaster, the people living around the area were forced to vacate their homes owing to the nuclear contamination spread.
The contamination still exists even today; hence, the use of robots has also proved unfruitful in certain cases due to the damage caused by the radiation to the robots. The clean-up operation is a very crucial task for the Japanese officials till date. The process of hunting down the exact location of the fuel debris in the damaged reactors is an important task Tepco plans to accomplish in the coming years. Little sunfish will help ease the process is what the Japanese Government relies on.
The robot has been able to capture images that can provide the insights of the reactor. The images of the melted fuel can help enhance study on the damaged nuclear reactor. As per the pictures obtained, there is a high possibility that the solidified melted fuel may consist of melted metal and fuel mixtures of the vessel itself. At the bottom of the reactor’s pressure vessel where the core is present, there is a control mechanism that has shown certain icicles hanging around it. The pressure vessel has burned all the way through the bottom and melted into a puddle after the tsunami attack. Thus, the resulting lumps of melted fuel or other materials have re-solidified near the walls of the concrete structure supporting the pressure vessel. And the robot has been able to capture the images with great intricacy.
The presence of the melted fuel in the primary containment vessel of the unit three reactor has propelled the analysis process of the debris. Though the three-day study using the underwater and remote controlled robot has been investigative, a further detailed study is required. The earthquake that caused the tsunami followed by the Fukushima disaster has resulted in the deaths of about 18,500. Hence, the Tepco still has charges against the negligence of the death of the people owing to the nuclear contamination.
Little sunfish can bear out to be the sunshine for the Fukushima reactor study.