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Breaking: Nuclear fuel found “beneath containment vessel” at Fukushima plant? — Parts inside reactor “no longer there” — “Search barely begun for fuel that burned through” — Workers probe underwater below plant for molten cores (PICS & VIDEO)

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Kyodo News, Jan 30, 2017 (emphasis added): Possible nuclear fuel debris sighted under damaged Fukushima reactor… [Tepco] found beneath the plant’s No. 2 reactor what could be nuclear fuel… [Tepco] found a black mass on a grating structure just beneath the containment vessel

Kyodo News, Jan 30, 2017: [A] robot will be deployed [to] better understand where the nuclear fuel debris is located

Kyodo News, Jan 30, 2017: The actual condition of the melted fuel has remained unknown… [Images] showed black mass and deposits… accumulating inside the outer primary containment vessel. If the deposits are fuel debris, it means fuel melted through the pressure vessel, a container that is supposed to hold the fuel. The interior of the primary containment vessel appears to be substantially different from its original state, indicating the harsh conditions… In some areas, the substance had accumulated a few centimeters thick to form a chunk or to clog the grid squares. Some parts of the grating were distorted or no longer there, possibly melted in the heat during the accident.

Japan Times, Jan 30, 2017: Nuclear fuel debris possibly found below reactor at Fukushima No. 1; Black lumps that could be melted nuclear fuel are visible Monday at the bottom of reactor No. 2′s containment vessel at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant — Tepco on Monday found what may be melted nuclear fuel debris inside reactor 2 at the Fukushima No. 1 plant… “At this point, it’s difficult to clearly identify what they are,” said Yuichi Okamura, general manager of Tepco’s nuclear power and plant siting division, during an evening news conference… [Footage] showed black lumps that looked like something that had melted and then congealed, sticking to parts of a steel grating area at the base of the containment vessel.

Jiji Press, Jan 30, 2017: [Tepco] found a form of sediment under the No. 2 reactor of its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant…

Reuters, Jan 30, 2017: [TEPCO] has failed to establish the location of the melted fuel rods in the other three damaged reactors at the plant. The utility has been developing robots that can swim under water and negotiate obstacles in damaged tunnels and piping to search for the melted fuel rods. But as soon as the robots get close to the reactors, the radiation destroys their wiring and renders them useless.

RT, Jan 30, 2017: Japan’s TEPCO finds possible nuclear fuel debris… The substance is so toxic that even specially-made robots designed to probe the underwater depths beneath the power plant crumble and shut down…

Guardian, Jan 30, 2017: [Tepco said] a remote camera appeared to have found the debris beneath the badly damaged No 2 reactor, where radiation levels remain dangerously high.

Bloomberg, Jan 29, 2017: [T]he search has barely begun for fuel that burned through to the bottom of the reactors.

Watch NHK’s broadcast here | TEPCO photos here

Published: January 30th, 2017 at 6:10 pm ET