Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.(TEPCO) used an underwater robot to find possible nuclear waste inside the No. 3 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japanese media reported on Sunday.
TEPCO sent a remote-controlled underwater robot into the No.3 reactor on Saturday. It captured images showing that there was one-meter-high unknown material accumulating at the bottom of the reactor with some broken reactor parts in them.
As the robot did not carry radiation sensor equipment, TEPCO was unable to identify the material exactly. However, combining previous analysis, TEPCO estimated that it's highly possible that the material is nuclear waste.
Three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant melted down after a magnitude 9 earthquake struck off the coast of Japan in March 2011. TEPCO speculated that the nuclear fuel might leak to the bottom of the reactor, but had not been able to locate it.
Reclaiming the nuclear waste is an unprecedented challenge. The Japanese government and TEPCO will make a reclaiming plan in September and implement the plan in 2021. Decommissioning process for the crippled nuclear power plant is expected to take four to five decades.