Nuclear Plant

Melted Fuel Apparent at Fukushima Reactor

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has released new images from the bottom of a Fukushima reactor. The images suggest that containment vessel number three is “highly likely” to contain melted fuel, according to company officials. If further work confirms this to be the case, it would be the first discovery of melted fuel since the clean up process began. Officials hope that analyzing the data might lead to new approaches for removing the large amounts of highly-radioactive material that remain. The photos were taken by a robot sent to explore the inside of the reactor to survey damage in preparation for removing the fuel. The cleanup may take as long as 40 years and decommissioning the reactors will cost an estimated $72 billion according to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry. —TV

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