Tokyo Electric Power Co. started its first full-scale survey of conditions inside the containment vessel of the most heavily damaged reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The survey of the No. 1 reactor will continue until Oct. 13 and will involve measuring radiation levels and temperatures of gases within the containment vessel. TEPCO will also collect water inside the container to study radioactive concentration levels.
TEPCO inserted a camera, 75 millimeters in diameter, through a piping hole on the side of the containment vessel on Oct. 9 and confirmed the surface of water used to cool the melted fuel, which is believed to have accumulated at the bottom of the vessel. However, TEPCO officials were unable to determine the water level.
The camera also recorded images of what appeared to be a bolt on a lattice-shaped working table.
“It seems we have not yet been able to see damage to large pieces of equipment,” said Masayuki Ono, a senior TEPCO official.
Structural damage and high radiation readings had prevented TEPCO from studying the inside of the No. 1 reactor containment vessel since the triple meltdowns at the Fukushima plant following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11 last year.
This is the second time a camera has been inserted into a damaged nuclear reactor at the Fukushima nuclear plant. An industrial endoscope was inserted into the No. 2 reactor in January this year.
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