Robot Explores Fukushima Reactor
A robot entered a damaged reactor at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant this week to take pictures of the reactor destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
The robot, nicknamed 'The Little Sunfish,' is very small – about the size of a loaf of bread. It has lights, five propellers, and two cameras, among other data collection tools.
Toshiba Corp., the electronics and energy company, and the International Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning, a government-funded group, developed the Little Sunfish.
Four operators control the Little Sunfish from afar. It is designed to tolerate radiation of up to 200 sieverts, a level that can kill humans instantly.
Robots are important for decommissioning the plant
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, is the plant's operator. TEPCO spokesman Takahiro Kimoto praised the robot's work, saying it took pictures of the underwater damage that had not been previously seen. However, the pictures showed no sign of the melted nuclear fuel that researchers hope to find, he said.
Robots are a key part of the plan to decommission the damaged plant. However, high levels of radiation and damage have stopped robots from doing their work in the past.
In previous tests, two robots became stuck inside two of the plant's other reactors.
A scorpion-shaped robot failed inside the plant's Unit 2 reactor. A snake-shaped robot designed to clear debris for the scorpion probe was removed after two hours when its cameras failed. The cameras failed because radiation levels were five times higher than anticipated.
Kimoto said the Little Sunfish showed that the Unit 3 reactor chamber was "clearly more severely damaged" than Unit 2, which was explored by the scorpion probe.
Scientists need to know the melted fuel's exact location and understand the damage in each of the three wrecked reactors. This information will help them to decide on the safest and most efficient ways to remove the fuel.
Japanese officials say they want to decide on methods for removing the melted nuclear fuel this summer. They hope to start the removal work in 2021.
I'm John Russell.
1.nuclear plant 核电厂
The Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company are struggling to resolve the crisis at the nuclear plant.
2.nuclear fuel 核燃料
When nuclear fuel is manufactured it is encased in metal cans.
3.take pictures 拍照
I would like to take pictures professionally because I get so much out of it.
4.data collection 数据收集
By data collection of the database, we analyzed chromosome features of the group Gymnosperm.
1.The robot, nicknamed 'The Little Sunfish,' is very small – about the size of a loaf of bread.
a loaf of 一片；一条
Hunger goaded him to steal a loaf of bread.
Your desire for food can be met without killing someone for a loaf of bread.
2.However, the pictures showed no sign of the melted nuclear fuel that researchers hope to find, he said.
showed no sign of 没有显示...的迹象
The oil workers showed no sign of fear before the great difficulties.
They showed no sign of responding to the quotation.
这款体型较小的机器人名为“迷你翻车鱼”，大概只有一片面包大小 。该机器人配有照明灯、五个螺旋桨、两台摄像头以及一些其他的数据收集设备 。
“迷你翻车鱼”由四人远程操控 。“迷你翻车鱼”可承受200西弗的核辐射，而这种程度的辐射对于人类是致命的 。
东京电力公司（TEPCO）是福岛核电站的运营方 。该公司发言人Takahiro Kimoto称赞了“迷你翻车鱼”的工作，同时表示，“迷你翻车鱼”拍摄的水下受损情况是之前从未发现过的 。然而，其所拍摄的照片并没有研究员想要看到的核燃料熔化的迹象 。
机器人是销毁受损核电站计划的关键一步 。不过，此前因辐射和损坏程度严重，机器人难以顺利进行作业 。
一个蝎子状的机器人被困在福岛核电站的2号反应堆机组内部 。另一个蛇状机器人的任务是清理蝎子探测过程中遗留的残渣，但作业2小时后因摄像头失灵被移除 。摄像头失灵是因为辐射强度是预期的5倍 。
科学家需要获取熔化燃料的精确位置以及3个受损反应堆受损情况 。这些信息将有利于他们判断移除熔化燃料最安全、有效的方法 。
多名日本官员表示，今年夏天将敲定移除熔化核燃料的方法 。他们希望移除工程能于2021年启动 。