It's so pathetic it is almost funny. Or at least the dialog between the reporters and TEPCO during the December 12, 2012 press conference was, probably unintentionally.
It was funnier reading about it via the tweets by @ystricera, who has tweeted almost all press conferences by TEPCO and the government regulatory agencies since March 2011.
Reporter: What time did the robot stop?
TEPCO: In the morning.
Reporter: It's evening now, and you don't know the exact time?
TEPCO: We will investigate all day tomorrow.
Two human colleagues from Toshiba had to get exposed to 1.36 millisievert radiation to retrieve the robot, but just to the outside the torus room.
For more of the mission of this clumsy Toshiba robot, see my previous post.
From his tweets on December 12, 2012, the remarks in parenthesis are either his explanation or the reporters' questions:
(Investigation of Reactor 2 by the 4-legged robot, it was to enter from the northeast corner on the first floor and climb down the stairs, then..?) TEPCO "The robot first climbed down the stairs to go to the basement, then there are stairs to climb up to the torus room. The robot started to climb. Then the forelegs went up in the air and the robot fell backward."
TEPCO "The robot was on a remote control. Two people went to retrieve the unresponsive robot. Since it fell down, we assume there were some unexpected problems. But the situation was that the forelegs were on the step already, and the robot was lifting the hind leg, then lost control and fell backwards."
TEPCO "It was right after the robot started to climb."
TEPCO "The robot was just starting to climb the stairs leading to the catwalk. So to be precise, it was right inside the torus room." (So human workers went to retrieve it, is that correct?) "Two people went to retrieve the robot. Because the location was right at the entrance, the radiation level was not that high. The max exposure was 1.36 millisievert."
(Ikegami of Kyodo News: So the robot flipped over before the investigation.) TEPCO "It happened right at the beginning of the work, so no, there was no investigation done." (So you're not going to do the investigation tomorrow? When will the investigation be over?) "One or two vent pipes a day, so depending on the situation, there are 8 vent pipes, we hope to carry out the investigation at that pace."
(Did TEPCO employees retrieve the robot?) "Affiliate company." (Were they from Toshiba?) "I think so." [TEPCO doesn't even know that??]
(What broke?) TEPCO "The robot didn't completely fall down, so we don't think it's damaged much. It was leaning against the wall behind it. Workers hand-carried it." (To outside the reactor building?) "To the landing just outside the torus room." (Where is the robot now?) "On the landing."
(I suppose it is because the robot was so heavy that the workers had to leave it there for now.) TEPCO "Well, we can charge batteries there."
(So the robot is temporarily placed on the landing, you say. But if you have it there temporarily without knowing the cause of the problem, there is no way to repair it. Are you going to take it outside [the reactor building] and inspect?) TEPCO "We're trying to figure out what to do."
(What time did it stop?) TEPCO "In the morning." (It's evening now, and you don't know the exact time?) TEPCO: "We will investigate tomorrow all day."