By Aaron Sheldrick and Minami Funakoshi (Reuters) - The robots sent in to find highly radioactive fuel at Fukushima's nuclear reactors have “died”; a subterranean "ice wall" around the crippled plant meant to stop groundwater from becoming contaminated has yet to be finished. And authorities still don’t how to dispose of highly radioactive water stored in an ever mounting number of tanks around the site. Five years ago, one of the worst earthquakes in history triggered a 10-metre high tsunami that crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station causing multiple meltdowns. Nearly 19,000 people were killed or left missing and 160,000 lost their homes and livelihoods. Today, the radiation at the Fukushima plant is still so powerful it has proven impossible to get into its bowels to find and remove the extremely dangerous blobs of melted fuel rods. The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) <9501.t>, has made some progress, such as removing hundreds of spent fuel roads in one damaged building. But the technology needed to establish the location of the melted fuel rods in the other three reactors at the plant has not been developed. “It is extremely difficult to access the inside of the nuclear plant," Naohero Masuda, Tepco's head of decommissioning said in an interview. "The biggest obstacle is the radiation.” The fuel rods melted through their containment vessels in the reactors, and no one knows exactly where they are now. This part of the plant is so dangerous to humans, Tepco has been developing robots, which can swim under water and negotiate obstacles in damaged tunnels and piping to search for the melted fuel rods. But as soon as they get close to the reactors, the radiation destroys their wiring and renders them useless, causing long delays, Masuda said. Each robot has to be custom-built for each building.“It takes two years to develop a single-function robot,” Masuda said. IRRADIATED WATER Tepco, which was fiercely criticized for its handling of the disaster, says conditions at the Fukushima power station, site of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in Ukraine 30 years ago, have improved dramatically. Radiation levels in many places at the site are now as low as those in Tokyo. More than 8,000 workers are at the plant at any one time, according to officials on a recent tour. Traffic is constant as they spread across the site, removing debris, building storage tanks, laying piping and preparing to dismantle parts of the plant. Much of the work involves pumping a steady torrent of water into the wrecked and highly radiated reactors to cool them down. Afterward, the radiated water is then pumped out of the plant and stored in tanks that are proliferating around the site. What to do with the nearly million tonnes of radioactive water is one of the biggest challenges, said Akiro Ono, the site manager. Ono said he is “deeply worried” the storage tanks will leak radioactive water in the sea - as they have done several times before - prompting strong criticism for the government. The utility has so far failed to get the backing of local fishermen to release water it has treated into the ocean. Ono estimates that Tepco has completed around 10 percent of the work to clear the site up - the decommissioning process could take 30 to 40 years. But until the company locates the fuel, it won’t be able to assess progress and final costs, experts say. The much touted use of X-ray like muon rays has yielded little information about the location of the melted fuel and the last robot inserted into one of the reactors sent only grainy images before breaking down. ICE WALL Tepco is building the world’s biggest ice wall to keep groundwater from flowing into the basements of the damaged reactors and getting contaminated. First suggested in 2013 and strongly backed by the government, the wall was completed in February, after months of delays and questions surrounding its effectiveness. Later this year, Tepco plans to pump water into the wall - which looks a bit like the piping behind a refrigerator - to start the freezing process. Stopping the ground water intrusion into the plant is critical, said Artie Gunderson, a former nuclear engineer. “The reactors continue to bleed radiation into the ground water and thence into the Pacific Ocean,” Gunderson said. "When Tepco finally stops the groundwater, that will be the end of the beginning.” While he would not rule out the possibility that small amounts of radiation are reaching the ocean, Masuda, the head of decommissioning, said the leaks have ended after the company built a wall along the shoreline near the reactors whose depth goes to below the seabed. “I am not about to say that it is absolutely zero, but because of this wall the amount of release has dramatically dropped,” he said. (Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick and Minami Funakoshi. Editing by Bill Tarrant)
An Arizona grandmother and food delivery driver used her final moments to help police catch her suspected killer, authorities say. Pamela Rae Martinez, 60, was able to snap a photo of the man believed to have shot her to death along West Bell Road on Saturday, June 11, shortly after she had completed her last food delivery for the night. Rusty French, 62, is now facing charges of second-degree murder in Martinez’s death after investigators found the tell-tale photo on the woman’s phone, accordin
Trump rattles off a dozen livid social media posts in 2 hours as ex-aide gives explosive testimony to Jan. 6 panel: 'A Total Phony!!!'
The former president called Hutchinson, a former White House aide, every name he could muster as she detailed his actions on January 6.
- National Review
Macron told Biden that the United Arab Emirates’ ruler informed him that OPEC’s top oil exporters were already at their production maximum.
- Shadow and Act
'The View': Whoopi Goldberg Sends Warning To Clarence Thomas Amid Roe Rollback: 'He Better Hope That They Don't Come For You' With Loving
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- Ukrayinska Pravda
The media receive copies of intercepted conversations between the Russian pilots who launched missiles on Ukraine on 25 June
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Stars arrived at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles for the 2022 BET Awards celebrating Black...
- USA TODAY Sports
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- Palm Beach Daily News
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Y’all this is so hot.
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A high school science teacher asked her students to make her laugh for extra credit on a recent assignment, and her class certainly delivered.
- In The Know by Yahoo
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- Women's Health
'Mad Men' star January Jones posted a photo in her underwear showing off her super sculpted abs and long, nude legs post knee surgery. She does Lagree workouts.
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- KCRA - Sacramento Videos
23 million Californians to get 'inflation relief' payments after budget deal struck, state leaders say
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- Yahoo Celebrity
Ben Affleck's son Samuel, 10, is "fine" after a very close call in a Lamborghini. Ben and Jennifer Lopez were there as it played out.
- Travel Noire
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In a recent interview, Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO, Elon Musk said about the UAW “They have so much power over the whitehouse, they can exclude Tesla from an EV (Electric Vehicle) summit.” The referenced EV summit was held in August of 2021, where President Joe Biden discussed the promising future of Electric Vehicles. While President Biden has now referenced Tesla when discussing the future of EVs, that wasn’t always the case. President Biden lauded the likes of Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) an
Sometimes divorce really is the best option. This is true for partnerships that need to come to an end and for patterns and behaviors that just aren’t working anymore. Carson Daly and his wife Siri found this out first-hand when they decided to get “sleep divorced” in 2019 — a cutesy term for when couples […]
- LA Times
President Trump tried to grab the wheel of his limo and assaulted a Secret Service agent in an attempt to reach the Capitol on Jan. 6, aide testifies.
- LA Times
WNBA star seen in Russian court for one of the first times in four months