Even robots can't survive Fukushima's floor zero

5 years after an earthquake-triggered tsunami hit Japan’s Fukushima Daichi nuclear energy plant, there’s nonetheless an incredible quantity of cleanup work left. The Tokyo Electrical Energy Co. (TEPCO), which runs the plant, has managed to wash out spent gasoline rods from one constructing, nevertheless it’s failed to succeed in others which have melted down. The extremely excessive radiation ranges on the website have even confirmed an excessive amount of for 5 robots that have been despatched in to seek out these rods, Reuters reviews. Even worse, it takes round two years for TEPCO to design robots suited to particular person buildings at Fukushima.

In line with Naohiro Masuda, TEPCO’s head of decommissioning, the radiation is so excessive that it merely melts the robotic’s wiring. And at this level, robots are the one protected technique to attempt to extract these melted gasoline rods, whose places are at present unknown. One intriguing technique for locating the rods, which concerned utilizing subatomic particles, has thus far been comparatively ineffective.

However that is not all: A proposed “ice wall” to maintain groundwater from reaching the reactors was solely simply completed in February. TEPCO will begin pumping water into the wall quickly, nevertheless it’s already a number of months late and critics query simply how efficient it’s going to be. Masuda says a seawall constructed alongside the shoreline is maintaining nuclear materials from reaching the ocean. (Though he would not go as far to say there’s completely no leakage. In fact.)

On prime of that, there’s additionally round one million metric tons of irradiated water being saved on the location, the remnants of water pumped in to chill down the reactors. TEPCO nonetheless hasn’t discovered an honest answer for disposing of the radioactive water, and the storage tanks have already leaked a few of the materials into the ocean.

The complete cleanup course of is predicted to take round 30 to forty years, however TEPCO has understandably come underneath hearth by the Japanese authorities for its sluggish begin. Wanting forward, Toshiba has developed a robotic that may skim the floor of cooling swimming pools to select up gasoline rods, which might truthful higher than the robots that should dive into the irradiated water. However TEPCO nonetheless must discover a strategy to find and extract the melted gasoline rods, which now are principally giant radiation globs weighing a whole lot of metric tons.

Devindra has been obsessive about know-how for so long as he can keep in mind — beginning with the primary time he ever glimpsed an NES. He spent a number of years fixing different individuals’s computer systems earlier than he began down the treacherous path of writing about know-how. Mission completed?

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