The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has reported that the floor of Reactor 1 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant may have a hole in it, after a robot captured images during a recent investigation. This possibility arose from the 2011 nuclear disaster, which was caused by a tsunami that resulted in the failure of the cooling system, leading to a meltdown of the reactor’s fuel.
The robot was deployed into the Reactor 1 containment vessel last month, and for the first time since the disaster, captured images of the reactor’s floor. TEPCO announced at a nuclear regulatory committee meeting on April 24 that there was evidence of a possible hole in the floor of the reactor’s containment vessel. The company cited the absence of a device that was previously attached to the floor, as well as a black space in the images, as evidence that some equipment may have fallen and caused the hole.
The images captured by the robot provide additional support for the existing theory that the fuel in the reactor melted down and caused the floor to rupture. While the situation remains uncertain, TEPCO continues to work towards a solution to contain the ongoing leakage of contaminated water into the surrounding environment.
Since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has faced numerous challenges in containing the spread of radioactive material. The Japanese government and TEPCO have claimed that the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) can remove most of the radioactive materials, including cesium, from the contaminated water. However, tritium cannot be filtered out by ALPS, and concerns have been raised about TEPCO’s plans to release treated contaminated water into the ocean in the spring or summer of this year. This plan has caused anxiety among neighboring countries, Pacific island nations, and local fishermen.
As the investigation into the state of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant continues, the possibility of a hole in the floor of Reactor 1 raises concerns about the ongoing environmental and health risks associated with the disaster. It remains to be seen what steps TEPCO and the Japanese government will take to address these concerns and ensure the safety of both the local population and the wider region.