‘Last month, TEPCO sent a robot built by Toshiba Corp into the No. 2 reactor core to try to find the 600 tons of debris and nuclear fuel trapped by the disaster. It “died” in less than a day without getting to the grate that would have given the company a view of the area where they suspect the residue is located.
Robots sent in on two previous occasions met with similar fates; one got itself stuck in a gap, and the other was abandoned after finding no fuel despite six days of searching.
Naohiro Masuda, the head of decommissioning for TEPCO, has acknowledged that they will have to start thinking “out of the box” if they are ever going to be able to examine the bottom of the core and determine where the melted debris is located.
And that out of the box thinking needs to happen quickly if they are to meet their schedule of beginning the actual clean-up work in 2021.’