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Japanese Using Robots To Peer Into Crippled Nuclear Plant


A remote-controlled robot called "Packbot" opens a door at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant's No.3 reactor building on April 17.

A remote-controlled robot called "Packbot" opens a door at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant's No.3 reactor building on April 17.

Reports said robots were being used to investigate Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, one day after plant operators announced a new nine-month stabilization plan for the facility.

The new plan includes freshly constructed cooling systems, revealing for the first time that attempts by the plant's operating Tokyo Electric Power company (TEPCO) to fix the old cooling systems had in fact failed.

The plant was badly damaged by an earthquake and tsunami six weeks ago in the world's worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl incident in Ukraine.

TEPCO's company president, Masataka Shimizu assured parliament that the situation is under control.

"There was a succession of moments of extreme alarm and we dealt with them all with a great sense of urgency, for example when the power went out or we lost control of the cooling system," Shimizu said. "However, it is our policy to continue to deal with all issues with a great sense of urgency."

Local reports say the robots were used to check whether radiation levels were safe enough to allow workers to enter and repair damaged cooling systems.

compiled from agency reports
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