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TEPCO to Deploy Drones for Detailed Inspection Inside Fukushima No. 1 Plant

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is seen in April 2021.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. on Thursday announced their plan to use small drones to thoroughly investigate the interior of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant containment vessel. The investigation is set to be carried out as early as February.

Investigations conducted with underwater robots in the No. 1 plant have revealed severe damage to the lower part of the cylindrical reinforced concrete pedestal that supports the reactor. To further examine the interior, TEPCO has decided to deploy lightweight drones weighing 185 grams. They plan to sequentially fly four drones to capture about eight minutes of video footage from various angles, aiming to obtain three-dimensional data.

Meanwhile, TEPCO also announced that uranium was found in the sediment collected near the pedestal by the underwater robots in January and February of this year. This is believed to be a part of the nuclear fuel that was dispersed during the accident in 2011.