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A remote-controlled robot sent into the bowels of a melted nuclear reactor at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant has made picked up pebble-sized chunks of radioactive debris for the first time, according to AFP.
On Wednesday, operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) sent a remote-controlled probe to the bottom of the plant's No. 2 reactor and lifted five small pieces of radioactive debris two inches.
Fuel - Debris - Spokeswoman - Yuka - Matsubara
"We were able to confirm that the fuel debris can be moved," said spokeswoman Yuka Matsubara, adding "We accomplished the objective of this test."
Matsubara says tht TEPCO plans to move more debris by next March.
Robots - Reactor - Experts - Fuel - Wednesday
Robots have already peered inside the reactor to allow experts to assess the melted fuel visually, but Wednesday's test was the first attempt to work out how fragile the highly radioactive material is.
Removing the melted fuel is considered the most difficult part of the massive clean-up operation in the wake of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
Tōhoku - Earthquake - Tsunami - Mainland - Japan
The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami swept across mainland Japan and killed over 15,000 people - knocking out the emergency generators at the Fukushima site. With no power, plant operators were unable to cool the - resulting in the meltdown of units 1, 2, and 3, along with hydrogen air explosions and the release of radioactive material into the air and the Pacific Ocean.
According to Gizmodo, the most difficult part of cleaning up the site will be dealing with the intense radiation coming from the melted fuel. In February 2017, a remote-controlled robot became unresponsive after two hours of exposure inside of reactor No. 2. Radiation has been reported as high as 650 sieverts...
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