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Fukushima underwater drone hunts for missing nuclear fuel (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

“This was the first time that a robot has entered the containment vessel of reactor 3″, TEPCO spokesperson Takahiro Kimoto told The Japan Times.The robotic device, nicknamed “Little Sunfish”, survived its first journey into the radioactive depths of the ruined Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, but failed to turn up the melted fuel debris.”We have found no (new) abnormality so far” at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, a spokesman at Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator said.TEPCO believes that more than 6 meters of contaminated water has accumulated at the bottom of the containment vessel and that radiation levels inside the reactors still remain exceedingly high, six years after the worst nuclear catastrophe since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. TEPCO sent the robot, specially designed for underwater probes, inside the No. 3 reactor on July 19 and released the pictures that day.Inside the plant, the robot was placed near the structure known as the pedestal, from where it went further in search of more information and the possibility of stumbling upon the melted fuel.In this June 15, 2017, file photo, newly developed robot for underwater investigation at the Fukushima’s damaged reactor, moves in the water at a Toshiba Corp. test facility in Yokosuka, near Tokyo.Scientists need to know the fuel’s exact location and understand the structural damage in each of the three wrecked reactors to work out the safest and most efficient ways to remove the fuel.The robot used Wednesday was created to tolerate radiation of up to 200 sieverts – a level that can kill humans instantly.Repeated attempts to ascertain the whereabouts of melted fuel debris in reactors one and two from January to March of this year were unsuccessful and have hampered the already decades-long mission to decontaminate the plant.According to an operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.The remote-controlled robot, attached to cables, then headed to the area just below the reactor pressure vessel and tried to capture images there.