TEPCO abandons robot stranded inside Fukushima plant

Story highlights

  • The operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant said it has abandoned a robotic probe inside one of the damaged reactors
  • A report stated that a fallen object has left the robot stranded
  • The robot collected data on radiation levels and investigated the spread of debris

Tokyo (CNN)The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has given up trying to recover a robotic probe after it stopped moving inside one of the reactors.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) deployed the remote-controlled robot on Friday inside one of the damaged reactors that had suffered a meltdown following a devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
    It was the first time the probe had been used.
    The robot, set out to collect data on radiation levels and investigate the spread of debris, stalled after moving about 10 meters, according to a statement released by TEPCO.
    A newly released report and footage from the robot shows that a fallen object had blocked its path and left it stranded.
    This file photo from February 2015 shows the same robot that was sent into the damaged reactor inside the Fukushima nuclear plant.
    TEPCO decided to cut off the cable connected to the device Sunday as it had already covered two-thirds of the originally planned route.
    It managed to collect data on radiation levels in 14 of the 18 targeted locations.
    Four years after the devastating nuclear crisis, the radiation levels inside the three damaged reactors are still extremely high and remain unsafe for people to enter.
    Decommissioning work is estimated to cost $50 billion and will take years to complete.
    TEPCO called the robotic probe an "unprecedented" experiment.