TOKYO, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO), operator of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, attempted to make direct contact with melted fuel at the bottom of one of the crippled reactors on Wednesday by using a device that can grip onto objects.
TEPCO said the device will be inserted into the primary containment vessel to survey the No. 2 reactor at the disaster-hit plant, in the hope that the device will be able to find out whether the melted fuel accumulating at the bottom of the reactor can be extracted or not.
The information from the latest probe will purportedly provide the utility with vital information regarding decommissioning methods and protocols for the No. 1 to 3 reactors that underwent core meltdowns in the March 2011 nuclear crisis.
TEPCO said, however, that the device it has deployed, with the capacity to grip objects weighing up to 2 kg and carry a camera and radiation detector, will not extract a sample of deposits until the second half of next fiscal year.
If the fuel deposits cannot be picked up, the utility said it may have to develop a new piece of technology that is capable of cutting the deposits into smaller pieces to be extracted.