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Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Q&A: 5 Years Down, 40 More to Go

  • Tepco continues search for melted fuel at bottom of reactors
  • Once fuel is located, development of removal system begins

Five years after the triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant north of Tokyo, decommissioning and cleanup continue. The following is a short question and answer on the situation at the site of the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl.

Tepco, as the utility is known, continues to search for the fuel that melted through the bottom of the three reactor chambers after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami knocked out the facility’s cooling system. Due to the dangerously high radiation levels in the reactor buildings, humans can’t enter. While the company has used cosmic ray photographs and computer models to estimate the approximate location, advanced robots must be used to find it.