They reveal the first images of the interior of a nuclear reactor at the Fukushima plant

Field view of the Fukushima nuclear power plant (Kyodo News via AP, File)

Photos taken by miniature drone from inside a critically damaged reactor of Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant They show displaced control equipment and mutilated materials, but they leave many questions unanswered, underscoring the mammoth task of destroying the plant.

The 12 photos published by the plant operator are the first photos of the interior of reactor number one’s primary containment vessel’s main structural support, called the pedestal, which is most affected, the area directly beneath the reactor core.

The officers had been waiting to arrive in the area for some time Examine the core and molten nuclear fuel It leaked when the plant’s cooling system was damaged by a powerful Earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Snake-shaped robot designed to help drones inside Reactor No. 1 (TEPCO via AP)

In previous attempts, robots were unable to reach this area. Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdingsone of two TEPCOIt completed a two-day operation with a small drone last week and made the photos public on Monday.

About 880 tons of highly radioactive molten nuclear fuel remains inside the three damaged reactors. TEPCO is attempting to obtain more data about the plant’s location and condition to facilitate its removal and closure.

High-definition color images taken by drones show brown objects of various shapes and sizes hanging at various points on the pedestal. Parts of the control rod drive mechanism, which controls the nuclear chain reaction, and other equipment attached to the core were separated.

Displaced and deformed equipment inside the Fukushima nuclear power plant’s reactor No. 1 (TEPCO via AP)

TEPCO officials could not determine from the images whether the hanging pieces were melted fuel or melted equipment, Without other data such as radiation levels. Drones did not carry dosimeters to measure radiation because they had to be light and manageable.

A drone designed to inspect a nuclear power plant (Daisuke Kojima/Kyodo News via AP)

Their cameras could not even see the lower part of the reactor core.Officials said, partly because of the darkness prevailing in the containment vessel. The information obtained may help in future investigation of the molten remains.Which, he said, is key to developing technologies and robots to remove them.

But the doubts that remain about the inside of the reactors are an indication of the difficulty of the process. Critics say the 30 or 40-year target set by the government and TEPCO for cleaning up the plant is overly optimistic.

(With information from AP)

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