Nuclear


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.


Juniper Networks buys Mist Systems for $405 million

ZDNet

Juniper Networks said on Monday that it plans to acquire Mist Systems, makers of a wireless LAN network powered by artificial intelligence, for $405 million. Juniper plans to use the purchase to bolster its software-defined enterprise portfolio and multicloud offerings and expand its presence in the cloud-managed segment of the wireless networking market. The cleanup will take decades in places humans can't go. More specifically, Juniper will combine Mist's wireless LAN platform with Juniper's wired LAN, SD-WAN and security services. Juniper also plans to extend Mist's AI capabilities across the Juniper networking portfolio for software-defined architectures.


AI starting to yield results in influencer campaigns

ZDNet

The cleanup will take decades in places humans can't go. It can be challenging trying to find the correct influencers for your marketing campaign. Brands need to assess whether corporate influencers are more important than celebrities, whether Instagram fraud will ruin their campaign, or whether we trust AI at all. Also: What do influencers look for when working with brands? Now a new AI solution may deliver the intelligence that brands need to run successful campaigns.


If only Apple could enjoy the same kind of love as Huawei

ZDNet

The cleanup will take decades in places humans can't go. The complaints are often heard, coming from those who claim to know. Apple's products aren't as good as Samsung's, they say. Also: Homepod long term review: What I like -- and don't -- about Apple's first smart speaker Worse, some say -- those some includes Samsung -- Apple just waits for others to innovate and then copies them with a slightly different look. The complainers can't believe how much emotional commitment Apple enjoys from customers.


10 Breakthrough Technologies 2019, curated by Bill Gates

#artificialintelligence

I was honored when MIT Technology Review invited me to be the first guest curator of its 10 Breakthrough Technologies. Narrowing down the list was difficult. I wanted to choose things that not only will create headlines in 2019 but captured this moment in technological history--which got me thinking about how innovation has evolved over time. My mind went to--of all things--the plow. Plows are an excellent embodiment of the history of innovation. Humans have been using them since 4000 BCE, when Mesopotamian farmers aerated soil with sharpened sticks. We've been slowly tinkering with and improving them ever since, and today's plows are technological marvels.


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.


A Robot for Nondestructive Assay of Holdup Deposits in Gaseous Diffusion Piping

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Miles of contaminated pipe must be measured, foot by foot, as part of the decommissioning effort at deactivated gaseous diffusion enrichment facilities. The current method requires cutting away asbestos-lined thermal enclosures and performing repeated, elevated operations to manually measure pipe from the outside. The RadPiper robot, part of the Pipe Crawling Activity Measurement System (PCAMS) developed by Carnegie Mellon University and commissioned for use at the DOE Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Enrichment Facility, automatically measures U-235 in pipes from the inside. This improves certainty, increases safety, and greatly reduces measurement time. The heart of the RadPiper robot is a sodium iodide scintillation detector in an innovative disc-collimated assembly. By measuring from inside pipes, the robot significantly increases its count rate relative to external through-pipe measurements. The robot also provides imagery, models interior pipe geometry, and precisely measures distance in order to localize radiation measurements. Data collected by this system provides insight into pipe interiors that is simply not possible from exterior measurements, all while keeping operators safer. This paper describes the technical details of the PCAMS RadPiper robot. Key features for this robot include precision distance measurement, in-pipe obstacle detection, ability to transform for two pipe sizes, and robustness in autonomous operation. Test results demonstrating the robot's functionality are presented, including deployment tolerance tests, safeguarding tests, and localization tests. Integrated robot tests are also shown.


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.