Japan captures more photographs of likely melted Fukushima fuel

Japan captures more photographs of likely melted Fukushima fuel

Underwater robot gave first images of the molten nuclear reactor inside the affected Japanese nuclear power plant "Fukushima".

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power says solidified lava-like rocks heaped up from the bottom inside of a main structure called the pedestal that sits underneath the core inside the primary containment vessel of Fukushima's Unit 3 reactor.

It is believed that a large part of the reactor's uranium dioxide and MOX (a mixture of uranium and plutonium oxide) rods melted as a result of the accident and ended up at the bottom of the vessel.

However, the utility noted that it would take some more time for experts to confirm whether this debris contains melted nuclear fuel.

The probe to examine the condition of melted fuel inside unit three follows the first on Wednesday inside the reactor's containment vessel, which houses a damaged pressure vessel and partially filled with contaminated water.




The disaster killed and missing more than 18,500 people.

On March 11, 2011, a huge tsunami hit the six-reactor plant, located 10 meters above sea level, and flooded power supply facilities.

Further detailing the sightings, BBC News wrote that some of the possible nuclear fuel deposits were similar in appearance to icicles, as they hung around a control rod mechanism found at the bottom of Unit 3's pressure vessel.

Removing the nuclear fuel is one of the most crucial steps in a cleanup that may consume up to four decades. Meanwhile, Friday's investigation focused searching the area in detail before examining fuel debris inside the vessel. However, a follow-up survey by another Toshiba-designed robot in February failed to confirm the location of any melted fuel in the reactor after it got stuck in debris.

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