Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Robot "Survey Runner" Lost in High-Radiation Reactor 3 Torus Room at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant

(UPDATE 7/12/2012: TEPCO released the photographs and the video taken by Survey Runner. See my latest post.)


On the second job since its debut in June surveying the Reactor 2 Torus Room, the robot Survey Runner became inoperable inside the Reactor 3 Torus Room. TEPCO says the radiation levels inside the Torus Room are just too high to retrieve the robot. The maximum radiation recorded by the robot before it became inoperable was 360 millisieverts/hour.

The robot was tethered. TEPCO does not have the footage of the mission available.

(For the details of what the robot and its human co-workers had hoped to achieve, see my previous post.)

From Jiji Tsushin (7/11/2012):


TEPCO announced on July 11 that the robot became inoperable after it was sent to the Reactor 3 building basement at FUkushima I Nuclear Power Plant to measure radiation levels and take the video. The company said it would be difficult to retrieve the robot for the moment because of the high radiation levels.


According to TEPCO, the work using the robot was done from 11AM to 3PM on July 11. The workers operated the robot that went inside the Torus Room that houses the Suppression Chamber (which is part of the Containment Vessel) to survey. The highest radiation level recorded [inside the Torus Room] was 360 millisieverts/hour.


The robot was tethered, but it became inoperable in the middle of the work. TEPCO said, "We don't know the cause yet, but it is possible that the cable got damaged." The robot was fitted with the recording equipment to record the sound of running water, but the equipment cannot be retrieved for the moment, either.

Quince 1 is still stranded in the Reactor 2 building, "for the moment", in much lower radiation, relatively speaking (10 millisieverts/hour where it sits).

I do hope TEPCO will release whatever footage they have, as well as the detailed information of what they did find. If anything, the new TEPCO under the control of the national government is releasing less information, not more. When they do release, they do so without detailed enough explanation on what they were doing.

Case in point is the set of photos of the upper floors (operational floors) of Reactor 3 that the company released also on July 11. It is just photographs of the mangled upper floors, with no explanation when it was taken and how it was taken. I suppose everyone is expected to tune in to their press conference to find more (if there's more). From the looks of the photos, they seem to have been taken from the boom of the crane they use to take air samples above the reactors at Fukushima. The air sampling at Reactor 3 was done on July 5, 2012, and the result of the nuclide analysis was released on July 10.


Anonymous said...

If this thing had a tether why wasn't the telemetry sent by wire in addition to the on board recording? It is over a year and they still don't know a whole lot about anything inside the shattered reactors other than it eats robots.

BTW, how about the SARRY water treatment system? I haven't heard a whole lot about it since the Jgov/TEPCO declared "Mission Accomplished" months ago? Have they finished cleaning up wastewater or are they still generating mountains of radioactive waste? Did they dump the used adsorption towers in the ocean or are they still storing them on dry land. Did they ever run out of storage space for treated water?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

I think TEPCO has captured info, and not giving it to us.

As to SARRY, it is still being used. They've created a huge storage area for the used towers, and so far it is not yet full. They stopped using AREVA (too many technical problems, radiation too high in the building, I hear), and they are not using Kurion. Workers had to go inside the bldg that houses Kurion's system and retrofit pumps, I believe. Also in high radiation.

Anonymous said...

Bet they are just dumping it into the ocean without worry about what it does..kind of "sharing the pain" with the rest of the world. I think other governments should start to worry about the attitude of Japan towards containment of radiation. Japans citizens are getting I fear Japan plans the same concept of operations for the other citizens of other countries. Kind of a " If Japan goes does the rest of the world."..Thats a terrible thought. Can someone reassure me that is not the case???

Anonymous said...

Guess I should have said Japan Government/TEPCO as the Japanese citizens are Japan as well. Its not Japanese people, its the government. Sorry if the wording was insensative.

Anonymous said...

You can friggin bet that with the incompetence and lying that tepco are still dumping water into the pacific. For this crime alone they should be imprisoned for life. They are stupid murderers of the world. Friggin stupid evil fools.

We need an international contigent in there sorting this problem out. Not the lame brained buffoons that are currently shuffling deck chairs on the titanic.

This is insufferable. The people need to rise up and physically start taking action. 500 days of utter foolishness and incompetence and evil inaction. Friggin fools tepco, friggin fools. Get rid of the mongrels.

Mongrels, mongrels, mongrels. We're all dead at this rate. The scum called tepco.

We have to take them out, of the picture. And place them all in jail for life.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Well, those "scums" as you call them have been almost the only ones doing anything at all at the plant.

Anonymous said...

Why are they the only ones doing anything? This is an international calamity. And tepco are nothing but yakuza monkeys. Get rid of them and put in an international group to FIX THE PROBLEM.

The apes that are there haven't the slightest idea of the pain they are causing the planet. Get rid of them. 500 days ago.

Atomfritz said...

I agree with LaPrimavera. It would be mid-boggling if Tepco won't use current WLAN technologies that would make real-time video communication easily possible. I just don't understand this. Really sorry for my stupidity.

Anonymous said...

International group? Like who? What's your suggestion? GE? AREVA? UN? You?

Fix what problem? Fix?

Anonymous said...

Actually I might add that I respect the tepco workers and meant no disrespect to them (or ex-skf). It's the management and above that I've had enough of.

As for international group, Japan will have to be taken over by the military. Mark my words, it will come after the USA elections and odumma gets reelected.

Majia's Blog said...

At least 3450 assemblies were in the pool of unit 3 (

Assemblies in reactor core?

Not known for sure.

Read this report here for info:
Fukushima 311 Watchdogs. MOX fuel-Corium-Plutonium in Fukushima Daiichi,

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update on the SARRY situation it's funny how AREVA and Kurion just kind of slid into obscurity. If I remember correctly originally Kurion was supposed to be the nuclear industry's magic bullet and AREVA was bragging like they had done clean ups of this magnitude in their sleep. No wonder their contract was secret I'm sure it was a "we get paid regardless of the outcome and Japan decommissions the horribly contaminated treatment plant".

So are they planning to sacrifice any more robots anytime soon? I bet the next robot is going to be pooping bolts when it's number comes up. Where are those damn Gundams when you need them? It doesn't need to be 18 meters tall make it 2 meters tall and hire little people to operate it. It doesn't need missiles, radar or the ability to fly all it needs is the ability to carry heavy sheilding and environmental considerations for the pilot. Beyond that they can duct tape instruments to the outside of it like they do now with the robots.

Anonymous said...

Didn't TEPCO announce a while back that they were planning on releasing the filtered "cesium lite" water? There was a great concern over that news but moments later another problem arose and...

Sorry not to find the link to the story just now, anyone else?

Anonymous said...

If anyone expects ANY truth to come out suddenly from TEPCO or the Government...forget about it!

This nonsense has been going on for months and months. Frankly, this should demonstrate to the World, just how powerful the Nuclear Industry is!

Billions upon billions of dollars wasted in cleanup, medical costs, rate costs, etc. The Public deserves this mess for all the wasted electricity they use!

Millions will die, billions will be affected. But, keep those TVs going!

Bud said...

The sad thing I not here is that governments like my own (USA) can go storming into other soverign nations like Iraq and Afghanistan and threated to march into Syria in the name of protecting the civillians, but there is *absolutely* no international technical force being put together to go into Japan and attempt mitigation of a problem that *really exists!* The Japanese goverment and TEPCO are in way over their heads and since this disaster has international ramifications there should be an international response and remediation effort here. Here we are, well over a year into this, and all there has been done internationally is a lot of jaw flapping and no concerted effort to actually do something like get an international team together and see what extent things have progressed to and put an effort into the logistics of how to tackle what could still turn out to be an extinction level event!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the reason that the robot was 'lost' and the video footage is 'unavailable' is that it showed evidence of melt through in the foundation at the center of the torus (i.e., directly below the breached containment vessel?

Vic Toews said...

You know what, I just can't give a damn any more. It's over. Smoke 'em and drink 'em while you got 'em, folks, its over.

Anonymous said...

For the most part, I agree with your points. But I have to ask, what makes you think this could be an ELE? It could make Japan uninhabitable, as well as part of the Asian mainland, but it is not an ELE. Also, I do understand the radioactive contamination of the ocean, and how it disperses throughout the ecosystem. However, most of the more dangerous isotopes which were released have relatively short half-life (30 years or so).
I'm not trying to downplay the magnitude of the disaster, just trying to point out that it is not going to compare to actual ELE's, like the K/T event.

Anonymous said...

Hi Vic, I give a damn. I want those tepco and Japanese execs to face capital punishment before this is over.

Bud said...

The ELE comes from what would likely occur in an event of protracted loss of cooling water flow or from structural collapse. Once something of that nature occurs, it becomes impossible to approach the site due to the staggeringly high radiation levels from either a prompt critical or a sustained criticality. Once that happens, maintainance of the other spent fuel pools and reactors becomes impossible, and the result is a cascading failure. One spent fuel pool after another goes critical and experiences meltdown, and remember that even though we think of "only" 4 reactors that there are six on that site, all of which have spent fuel pools, plus (i believe, corrent me if I am wrong here) that 5 of the six reactors are currently fueled and require coolant (although location of the cores of one through three is in doubt and "cold shutdown" is not really applicable to those units). Plus, there is a common pool that has an enormous amount of spent fuel rod assemblies. A cascading failure of coolant (which would inevitably happen once the complex cannot be approached) would effect ALL of these reactors and pools, which would be an ELE. Granted, people would not die in minutes as with an asteroid impact or similar, but death would pretty much be assured through radiation induced cancers, sterility, and cumulative toxicities which would progressively end surface life on this ball of dirt we call home. Underground dwellers *could* survive, but would have to remain underground for a minimum of several generations, *if* food supplies and filtered air were available. With this in mind, I call it an ELE.

Anonymous said...

One thing is for sure. Tepco lies. Soo as they open their mouths, they're lying. It's a guarantee. Why not send a couple Tepco executives in there. Make sure they're tethered!

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