It seems as though yet another robot has died while trying to investigate the Fukushima disaster. This robot is the third that has failed to do much of anything, and it would seem that we know little about what is going on inside of the failed reactor.
The now dead robot was able to record some videos from inside of the disabled reactor, and among that media were photos of a previous robot that had been sent in. While we don’t know what exactly the state of the reactor is, we do know that radiation continues to stream forth form it.
TEPCO thinks that it will take about 40 years to decommission the reactor, though they have not told us how they plan to do it. Given their proficiency with building robots to explore the wreckage, my hopes are low for their 40 year plan.
“We should think out of the box so we can examine the bottom of the core and how melted fuel debris spread out,” Naohiro Masuda said; he is the Head of Decommissioning for TEPCO.
What kind of plan he may be thinking of is unknown, but hopefully it involves doing something more than building ineffective robots to destroy in the radioactive nightmare that Westinghouse helped to create.
In a related story, a budget Korean airline said it won’t use Fukushima airport for its Tokyo bound flights. Apparently the passengers refused to fly near the failed reactor.
This situation does raise some interesting questions. I am left wondering what the all-in cost for the power that the plant generated over its lifetime was. Given the fact that a big chunk of Japan is now radioactive, and spewing toxic waste into the pacific ocean.
One of our biggest problems is that we don’t ever want to pay for the damage that dangerous energy sources create. While coal is a less dramatic example of this kind of thinking, it is equally relevant.
While I am not an engineer, it is my understanding that solar and wind power don’t contain radioactive materials. They are also immune from a “meltdown”, and won’t ever spew toxic waste into the environment.
Given these factors, it seems like we should change the way we build infrastructure. I am tempted to think that the Japanese agree with me. Of the 42 nuclear reactors that Japan has, only 2 are operational.
No one wants another Fukushima.