The company in charge of the ruined Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant revealed Thursday it needed new ideas to design robots capable of surviving the high levels of radiation inside the site’s reactors, which were damaged in a 2011 earthquake and its resulting tsunami.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has hit a new obstacle since being tasked with cleaning up the worst nuclear incident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet Union. The exploratory robot, specially designed to navigate the underwater sections of the reactor, died last month after being exposed to “unimaginable” levels of radiation nearly nine times more potent than the previous highest dose recorded. Naohiro Masuda, president of Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi Decommissioning project, told reporters that the company had to rethink its methods in order to examine and extract the hazardous material stuck in the plant’s second reactor.