Robots Sent into the Fukushima Plant Have Not Returned
Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) has sent in five robots to locate the spent fuel rods in one of the Fukushima plant's buildings. However, the robots have gone dark. Operators believe radiation from the plant melted their wires.
Not even robots can survive within the ruins of the Fukushima power plant. Operators lost contact with the five robots that went in, they are assumed to have broken-down from the radiation.
After a 9.0 Earthquake triggered a tsunami, killing 16,000 people and causing a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, officials began removing the spent fuel pins (or rods) back in 2013. This project was headed up by the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco). They have so far removed hundreds of spent fuel rods from one of the damaged buildings, but there are still three more buildings to clear, and locating the fuel rods is proving difficult.
“It is extremely difficult to access the inside of the nuclear plant," Naohiro Masuda, Tepco's head of decommissioning told Reuters. "The biggest obstacle is the radiation.”
The rods are about 13 feet long and weigh several tons and contain pellets of spent uranium fuel. The fear is that the storage pools or the rods themselves may have been damaged after the Earthquake and tsunami hit. Reuters has already reported that some of the rods have melted through their containment vessels.
The radiation near the Fukushima plant is too strong for humans to survive, so Tepco developed robots to navigate the land terrain and underwater tunnels to track down the missing rods. However, robots are not immune to radiation; it can and has melted the wiring within the five robots it sent in.
Tepco spent two years developing and building one of these specialized robots. At this rate officials believe it could take up to four decades to decommission the plant.
Photo Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Image of spent fuel rods: KIMIMASA MAYAMA/AFP/Getty Images
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
Our attention is more than just a resource. It is an experience.
'We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom.' Those were the words of the American biologist E O Wilson at the turn of the century. Fastforward to the smartphone era, and it's easy to believe that our mental lives are now more fragmentary and scattered than ever. The 'attention economy' is a phrase that's often used to make sense of what's going on: it puts our attention as a limited resource at the centre of the informational ecosystem, with our various alerts and notifications locked in a constant battle to capture it.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.