Fukushima


NTT to launch trial of farming support service with drones and AI tech in Fukushima

The Japan Times

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) said Thursday it will launch a trial for a farming support service using drones and artificial intelligence technology, with a goal of commercializing the service in Japan and other Asian countries. The new system, which connects drones with GPS satellites, is anticipated to help the farm industry in the nation amid a serious labor shortage. NTT aims to raise crop output by up to 30 percent through the new service. The telecommunications giant will conduct the trial service on 8 hectares of a rice field in Fukushima Prefecture from later this month to March 2021. It aims to launch the service on a commercial basis in Japan in two years.


Removal of fuel at Fukushima's melted nuclear reactor begins

Los Angeles Times

The operator of the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant began removing fuel Monday from a cooling pool at one of three reactors that melted down in the 2011 disaster, a milestone in what will be a decades-long process to decommission the facility. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said workers started removing the first of 566 used and unused fuel units stored in the pool at Unit 3. The fuel units in the pool located high up in reactor buildings are intact despite the disaster, but the pools are not enclosed, so removing the units to safer ground is crucial to avoid disaster in case of another major earthquake similar to the one that caused the 2011 tsunami. TEPCO says the removal at Unit 3 will take two years, followed by the two other reactors, where about 1,000 fuel units remain in the storage pools. Removing fuel units from the cooling pools comes ahead of the real challenge of removing melted fuel from inside the reactors, but details of how that might be done are still largely unknown. Removing the fuel in the cooling pools was delayed more than four years by mishaps, high radiation and radioactive debris from an explosion that occurred at the time of the reactor meltdowns, underscoring the difficulties that remain.


Removal of fuel at Fukushima's melted reactor begins

Al Jazeera

The operator of the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant has begun removing fuel from a cooling pool at one of three reactors that melted down in the 2011 disaster, a milestone in the decades-long process to decommission the plant. Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said on Monday that workers started removing the first of 566 used and unused fuel units stored in the pool at Unit 3. The fuel units in the pool located high up in reactor buildings are intact despite the disaster, but the pools are not enclosed so removing the units to safer ground is crucial to avoid disaster in case of another major quake. Tepco said the removal at Unit 3 would take two years, followed by the two other reactors. The step comes ahead of the real challenge of removing melted fuel from inside the reactors, but details of how that might be done are still largely unknown. Removing the fuel in the cooling pools was delayed five years by mishaps, high radiation and radioactive debris from an explosion that occurred at the time of the reactor meltdown, underscoring the difficulties that remain.


Tepco to deploy robot for first contact with melted fuel from Fukushima No. 1 nuclear disaster

The Japan Times

The owner of the wrecked Fukushima No. 1 power plant is trying this week to touch melted fuel at the bottom of the plant for the first time since the disaster almost eight years ago, a tiny but key step toward retrieving the radioactive material amid a ¥21.5 trillion ($195 billion) cleanup effort. Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. will on Wednesday insert a robot developed by Toshiba Corp. to make contact with material believed to contain melted fuel inside the containment vessel of the unit 2 reactor, one of three units that melted down after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. "We plan to confirm if we can move or lift the debris or if it crumbles," Joji Hara, a spokesman for Tepco said by phone Friday. Tepco doesn't plan to collect samples during the survey. The country is seeking to clean up the Fukushima disaster, the world's worst atomic accident since Chernobyl, which prompted a mass shutdown of its reactors.


Toshiba unveils robot with tongs to probe melted Fukushima nuclear fuel

The Japan Times

YOKOHAMA - Toshiba Corp. unveiled a remote-controlled robot with tongs on Monday that it hopes will be able to probe the inside of one of the three damaged reactors at Japan's tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant and grip chunks of highly radioactive melted fuel. The device is designed to slide down an extendable 11-meter (36-foot) long pipe and touch melted fuel inside reactor 2's primary containment vessel. The reactor was built by Toshiba and GE. An earlier probe carrying a camera captured images of pieces of melted fuel in the reactor last year, and robotic probes in the two other reactors have detected traces of damaged fuel, but the exact location, contents and other details remain largely unknown. Toshiba's energy systems unit said experiments with the new probe planned in February are key to determining the proper equipment and technologies needed to remove the fuel debris, the most challenging part of the decommissioning process expected to take decades.


Toshiba unveils robot to probe melted Fukushima nuclear...

Daily Mail

Toshiba unveiled a remote-controlled robot with tongs on Monday that it hopes will be able to probe the inside of one of the three damaged reactors at Japan's tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant and grip chunks of highly radioactive melted fuel. The device is designed to slide down an extendable 11-meter (36-foot) long pipe and touch melted fuel inside the Unit 2 reactor's primary containment vessel. The reactor was built by Toshiba and GE. An earlier probe carrying a camera captured images of pieces of melted fuel in the reactor last year, and robotic probes in the two other reactors have detected traces of damaged fuel, but the exact location, contents and other details remain largely unknown. Toshiba unveiled the device carrying tongs that comes out of a long telescopic pipe for an internal probe in one of three damaged reactor chambers at Japan's tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant - this time to touch chunks of melted fuel Toshiba's energy systems unit said experiments with the new probe planned in February are key to determining the proper equipment and technologies needed to remove the fuel debris, the most challenging part of the decommissioning process expected to take decades.


Toshiba Unveils Robot to Probe Melted Fukushima Nuclear Fuel

U.S. News

Toshiba Corp. has unveiled a remote-controlled robot with tongs that it hopes will be able to probe the inside of one of the three damaged reactors at Japan's tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant and manipulate chunks of melted fuel.


Japan's first drone document delivery operation launched in Fukushima amid labor shortage

The Japan Times

FUKUSHIMA – Japan Post Co. on Wednesday began transporting documents by drone in Fukushima Prefecture, the first operation of its kind in Japan, following easing of regulations to cope with labor shortages in the transport industry. The company said it will initially use drones to carry its own documents and advertisements between two post offices in the northeastern prefecture to examine whether the unmanned aircraft can be used to carry mail. In the future, it hopes to use drones for deliveries to mountainous regions and remote islands. It launched the operation after the government eased related regulations in September. Prior to easing restrictions, an operator was required to keep the drone in view.


Disaster relief tech: Hand-shaped robot and cybersuit for rescue dogs tested in Fukushima

The Japan Times

The Friday event was hosted by the Cabinet Office and others. The hand-shaped robot, developed by Tohoku University, has fingers consisting of small ball-like parts, operated through wires running through its length. The robot, which features enhanced fire resistance, is expected to be useful in the event of a plant fire, according to the university. At the test event Friday, the robot removed gas cylinders and rubble from a fire. The cybersuit, developed by the university and others, is equipped with a camera and a GPS device.


Japan Post to begin test deliveries using drones in Fukushima next month

The Japan Times

Japan Post Co. has said that it will start test deliveries using a drone between post offices in Fukushima Prefecture. The transport ministry on Friday approved an application by the company for flying a drone without an operator watching the airborne device or an assistant who monitors its movements. In past test flights, operators flew drones with assistants checking the movements of the devices by eye. This time, flights will be conducted without such an assistant for the first time. The mail delivery arm of Japan Post Holdings Co. is expected to start the test flights early next month.