The Robots Sent Into Fukushima Just Keep Dying

Tyler Durden's picture

Via Yvette Tan of,

The robots sent in to investigate the nuclear fallout at Fukushima just aren't good enough.


Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) head of decommissioning admitted on Thursday that more creativity was needed in developing its robots sent to the reactive zone.

The Fukushima nuclear power plant was massively damaged in 2011, when three of the six nuclear reactors suffered meltdown after being struck by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and associated tsunami waves.

More than 100,000 residents of the nearby Fukushima Prefecture had to be relocated, and the government has spent the last five years struggling with the aftermath. The incident is regarded as the world's largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

Part of the clean-up includes robots, sent in to probe the site, because radiation levels are too high for humans.

But earlier last month, a robot sent into Fukushima's No. 2 reactor was forced to abort its mission after it was blocked by deposits — believed to be a mixture of melted fuel and broken pieces of structure.

Two previous robots had also failed in its missions after one was stuck in a gap and another was abandoned after being unable to find fuel during six days of searching.

This is an example of one of the robots TEPCO had sent to probe the area in the past.

"We should think out of the box so we can examine the bottom of the core and how melted fuel debris spread out," TEPCO Head of Decommissioning Naohiro Masuda said.

Mr Masuda also added that he wants another robot sent in before deciding on methods to remove the reactor's debris.

Despite the failed probe missions, officials have added that they want to stick to their schedule of starting the site clean up in 2021. 

Decommissioning the site is expected to cost tens of billions of dollars and last around 40 years.

Fukushima's No. 2 reactor was found in February to have a radiation level of 530 sieverts.

Exposure to four sieverts is enough to be lethal, according to the National Institute of Radiological Sciences.

South Korea's low-cost carrier Jeju Air also announced on Tuesday that it would not use Fukushima Airport due to fears of radiation.

Some of its customers had reportedly posted online that they would not use the airline because they didn't want to "board airplanes that flew over Fukushima."

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Dazman's picture

Just send Abe or Kuroda in. They can do it. Hopium.

On the upside, we'll finally get rid of them.

Double Plus Good.

xythras's picture
xythras (not verified) Dazman Mar 4, 2017 9:22 PM

We should send them all that untapped labor force held in immigration centers/prisons. We pay for their 3meals/day, fuck them, put them to work. HARD LABOR as Russia and China do with their prisoners.

And the leftist judges too.

Judges Slowing Down Deportations: Immigration Courts, Record Number of Cases, Many Problems

john doeberg's picture

Those robots are made in China.

Stuck on Zero's picture

Note that the explosions that took out these reactors could have been avoided with cheap reactor vent systems. That was the lesson they learned at 3 Mile Island.  Somehow that lesson never spread to the reactors in the world. Why are these operators so stupid?

The Merovingian's picture

Stupid is a bottomless pit, unfortunately.

max2205's picture

Just fly a drone in dumbasses 

Logan 5's picture
Logan 5 (not verified) Buster Cherry Mar 5, 2017 2:11 AM

Send in Soros

prime american's picture
prime american (not verified) Logan 5 Mar 5, 2017 3:58 AM

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do...

vato poco's picture

guys, guys, guys. 

robot failure isn't a *flaw*, it's a design feature. suppose they trot a robot in there, it does its thing, and they get it out with all the data. what happens then? welllll, then they'd have to announce to the whole world something like this: "um, yeah, the....well, the thing is, it's really really really bad in there, and we have no clue how to fix it. so we're fucked. sorry."

losing much face in front of the whole world. as every good obedient little japanese knows, face is the most important thing in the WORLD, so this cannot be allowed. why, they would be laughed at! scorned! MOCKED as incompetent fools! made to feel shame & embarrassment! inconceivable!!!

so, robot failures from now on, forever. 

MalteseFalcon's picture

Nuclear power has existed for 50+ years and there is, and has never been, an answer for a complete meltdown.

Because that can never happen, right.

Oops, it did.

And now five years later there is still no answer, nor has there been any substantive reform to the way nuclear power is managed.

The event has not even been properly acknowledged.

Some may point to theoretical nuclear technology that does not yet exist as an answer.

Five years and counting.

Meanwhile the world has enough nuclear water boilers to end all life on the planet.


forestwind's picture

In one week, it will be 6 years and counting. Clearly they do not know what to do and do not even know the extent of the ongoing damage. Why is a private company still running this world class catastrophe? A global response is needed. Kiev could provide their know how and experience from Chernobyl. The U.S. could mobilize the greatest and most effective military machine on earth to stop this. Japan could join NATO and have access to the vast resources of the EU.

Bay Area Guy's picture

I think we have a winner here.  Not only is there the "face" issue, there's also the little matter of civil and criminal liability for killing the Pacific Ocean and condemning God knows how many people to cancer diagnoses.  It would also lend increible credence to the lawsuit filed on behalf of the USS Reagan sailors who contracted cancer when that ship was sent in to help in the early days of the meltdown.

PT's picture

Your idea is good too.

Send in thousands of cheap robots from all different directions.  Where they fail will give you a nice outline of where all the radioactive thingy-stuff is.

Logan 5's picture
Logan 5 (not verified) The Merovingian Mar 5, 2017 2:18 AM

"Stupid is a bottomless pit, unfortunately"


In this case ~ RITTERARY!


ror ~ What do they call a core meltdown over there anyway 'The America Syndrome'?

Mr 9x19's picture

15800 view for the robots in fukushima, 3 billions view next year to olympics...

get used to it, we are beyond idiocracy, when the olympic scam return to dust after the event, this oympics is organized where nuclear incident occured just to force people to ear " see, no problem here, we can even make some competition "


afterwards in 20 years no more japanese male and china with 150.000 man army will conquer the islands without a fucking fire shot.


i seriously start to regret the Hillary pyschopathic WW3 theme, because we definitivly need it ASAP

barliman's picture


If the Tyler's dig back to March of 2011, they can find comments I made pointing out:

1.  The robots required to function in the levels of radioactivity existing inside the reactors would require technology that does NOT exist - then or today. Unfortunately, they were too busy back then doing h/t's to an idiot claiming iRobot was already deploying prototypes to deal with Fukushima.

2. I put the initial price tag at $ 250 - 500 billion but hedged my bet because if the containment vessels had been breached (as we now know they have), all bets were off and the necessity of clean up became less important than the necessity of keeping the Japanese public from realizing a sizeable portion of their country is permanent fucked on the timeline on which humans function.

3. I noted early word on WHO the U.S. had deployed indicated the U.S. and Japan were hedging their bets from the get-go because at least one of the experts I knew of who had been dispatached from the U.S. had FIXED Three Mile Island ... but another one was a long time master of nuclear industry cover-ups.

The ZH of today is not the ZH of six years ago ... much less eight years ago. ZH is a revenue stream with an eye on the Establishment "realitities" of the day and disdain for trying to change anything but keen to "go along to get along".

If ZH hasn't learned anything in eight years, why would anyone expect the Japanese bots in suits handling Fukushima to have learned anything?

Anteater's picture

I worked on building a Mitsubishi Liquid Sodium TEST REACTOR up at Canoga Park, 10 miles from downtown LA, and right on the San Andreas fault. It was all tra-la at Rocketdyne, what, me worry, to test an experimental nuclear reactor design right beside 10,000,000 people. All of the staff were contract hires from around the world, no supervision, you even had to bring your own software!! Then a couple scientists died of radiation, then that giant LA earthquake struck. I searched the news fior Santa Susana Research Lab, but it's all top secret. They shredded all the records. Wonder what they did with the burnt reactor?

All I know is I'll never put on a defense lab vest again. Anyway, we delivered the bomb!

WernerHeisenberg's picture

The Northridge quake in 1994, same area as Canoga Park, no wonder they covered it up

Logan 5's picture

& to think there was a NEW MEIJI takeout sushi bar about 3 blocks away right across the RR tracks.

vulcanraven's picture

I grew up in that area, there's also this:

Heard all about it growing up... people and their pets growing tumors, etc. There was some sort of class action thing going but I don't think anything ever came of it.

HardlyZero's picture

Santa Susana Field Laboratory is a complex of industrial research and development facilities located on a 2,668-acre (1,080 ha)[1] portion of the Southern California Simi Hills in Simi Valley, California. It was used mainly for the development and testing of liquid-propellant rocket engines for the United States space program from 1949 to 2006,[1] nuclear reactors from 1953 to 1980 and the operation of a U.S. government-sponsored liquid metals research center from 1966 to 1998.[2] The site is located approximately 7 miles (11 km) northwest from the community of Canoga Park and approximately 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Downtown Los AngelesSage Ranch Park is adjacent on part of the northern boundary and the community of Bell Canyon along the entire southern boundary.[3]

Throughout the years, about ten low-power nuclear reactors operated at SSFL, in addition to several "critical facilities" which helped develop nuclear science and applications. At least four of the ten nuclear reactors had accidents during their operation. The reactors located on the grounds of SSFL were considered experimental, and therefore had no containment structures.

On October 15, 2007, Boeing announced that "In a landmark agreement between Boeing and California officials, nearly 2,400 acres (10 km2) of land that is currently Boeing's Santa Susana Field Laboratory will become state parkland. According to the plan jointly announced by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Boeing, and state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, the property will be donated and preserved as a vital undeveloped open-space link in the Simi Hills, above the Simi Valley and the San Fernando Valley. The agreement will permanently restrict the land for nonresidential, noncommercial use."

Tired of Bending Over's picture

+100 for the Jaws reference...

Caught_Fish's picture

The robots I have seen seem to use an umbilical cord for power and data transmission.

Could the robot be hydraulic with a fibre optic camera down a similar umbilical cord?

Multiple capillary lines for XYZ axis movement utilising small hydraulic motors.

Would this isolate the unit from the radiation damage?


I-Engineer's picture

Computers, solid-state anything, they are really not good in radiation. We work in that radiation levels occasionally, but there are as few electronics as you can get away with. Mostly it is a man moving something on a pole from 6 meters away. Radiation and computers don't mix.

Cameras will eventually burn out. Even specially made nuclear-grade ones last on the order maybe days. Regular industrial cameras just won't even work.

Caught_Fish's picture

This is the basis of my question and the thoughts behind the design. By having zero electronics in the mobile head and utilising optical fibre for the camera could the head be mobile enough whilst isolating the electronics at the end of an umbilical cord ?

I-Engineer's picture

Absolutely. On the tools I am familiar with, we use pneumatic controlled pistons.

BandGap's picture

How would you shield the electronics? My thinking is the intensity of the radition is such that nothing electronic can get within what, 200 feet? That shit is still glowing.

Longest lasting EMP on record.

Buster Cherry's picture

The o-rings in the hydraulics of your idea would harden and spew in about 5 minutes.

Caught_Fish's picture

Whilst working for DuPont we pumped 6000psi molten polmer with gear pumps, zero o-rings.

The fluid wouldn't even need to return down the umbilical cord, total loss into the reactor. This would aid cooling as only fresh cooled fluid would flow to the head, the fluid could even be demineralised water adding nothing extra to the current volume of water flowing through the reactor.

DrWhy's picture

We have the exact same idea (not briefcase).

Fifty years ago I was an avid astronomy hobbyist which included building my own telescope.

I successfully ground, polished and aluminized a beautiful 6" mirror for a reflector scope. This would be mounted in a 5' tube (with more optics) which then required a suitable mounting.

Most astro scopes use an equatorial mount (right ascension/declination) with the RA axis parallel with the earth's axis. To follow a sky object only the RA axis needs to be driven (matching the rotation of the earth) and the view in the eyepiece will remain fixed. Easy. The 200" Hale telescope is a classic example.

Alternatively you can use an altazimith mount (altitude/azimuth). To follow an object both axes need to be driven and the eyepiece view will rotate (maybe needed another drive). This requires fairly complex mechanics and computation. Modern scopes (Keck) use this.

Moving a large, heavy, awkward telescope slowing and precisely is a non trivial engineering task.

Among my often fanciful sketches for mountings was one that used hydraulics. Some number (3 - 6) arms would be move the tube wherever you wanted. Small diameter long travel hydraulics would slew the scope quickly and large diameter short travel devices would move slow and precise. This would allow you to look anywhere in the sky and also follow moving objects,

My first thought on seeing the fried robots was "Why not use hydraulics and fiber optics?".

Which really brings up other questions:
- Why do the current efforts look like low budget University class projects?
- The best "machine" to work on this are men in hardhats, except for the dying thing. Why is the site not swarming with new types of machines cleaning it up? Where are the "Waldoes"?
- It is said this is the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. Why is this not the nuclear accident ever?
- Why is this not the worst industrial accident ever?
- This will not be fixed in anyone's lifetime and will require trillions of dollars. No?
- Why is the entire world not working on this and what really, if anything, does the subtle concept of "face" have to do with it?

Peacefulwarrior's picture

China Syndrome may make global politics irrelevant

I-Engineer's picture

The company that I work for invented a device to stop a hydrogen explosion after a nuclear event thirty years ago. Probably as a result of TMI.

The passive autocatalytic recombiner doesn't even need electricity or outside power to operate.

There is no reason to have a severe hydrogen explosion today (other than cost, they aren't cheap).

Motasaurus's picture

I fail to see how reactor vents would have stopped the nukes Israel put into the reactors to blow them up.

Nexus789's picture

Like putting the diesel generators below the height of the sea wall. 

Giant Meteor's picture

But do they have health insurance?

hxc's picture

I like most of your posts xythras, but that was full-on lunatic mode.

Giant Meteor's picture

Just what do you think you're doing, Dave?

QuantumEasing's picture

Spammer Xythras:

Based on the fact that you always seem to get about ten or eleven upvotes, and no more, I estimate you have about nine or ten sock puppet accounts.

How did I do?

P.S. go lick a hot plate.

BigFatUglyBubble's picture

Tim the Tool Man Taylor should make a bot for this

GUS100CORRINA's picture

Earlier this week, I updated my knowledge on what is going on in Japan. A lot of material continues to appear on youtube. 

If I remember correctly, reactor #2 is still putting out 530Sv per hour inside the contrainment. To ground everyone, a level of 4Sv per hour will kill you.

It is looking like Japan has lost control.

We will see what the authorities say in the weeks ahead. The Pacific Ocean is looking to be at risk of varying levels of toxic polution.

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) GUS100CORRINA Mar 4, 2017 9:54 PM

I no longer eat any any seafood from the west coast. Eating salmon or king crab isn't worth risking my life.

GUS100CORRINA's picture

I also do not eat any seafood from the West Coast. 

Below is one of the better reports out there regarding FUKUSHIMA. This video is from a guy I trust. He isn't into scare tactics, but very reasoned reporting with a lot of video evidence.

Mr. Universe's picture

Chinook Salmon off of California coast? No way. Not even the rock fish now. The past two years they have "modified" the Dungeness Crab season due to "bacteria" Some folks are saying due to radiation, either way I'm eating zero of what might be the tastiest crab out there. However if this is a bad as it gets it could be game over for the humans of this planet.

GUS100CORRINA's picture

Radioactive cesium-137 from Fukushima now detected off coast of Canada.

The issue with cesium-137 is that it accumulates in the fish making them unsafe to eat. Normal half life of cesium is about 10 years. It is recommended that period of 30 years pass before it is safe for human consumption.

Think about this point. Fukushima event happened about 6 years ago. The site is putting out more toxic radiation now than it did six years ago. Experts are saying that it will probably take 40 years and 300 Billion dollars to clean it up. I even saw a report where China is complaining about Cesium levels in their waters.

I can guarantee this is going to come to a head within the next year or so.

By the way, if JAPAN has another earthquake before it is totally cleaned up, GOOD NIGHT IRENE!! The comment: "However if this is a bad as it gets it could be game over for the humans of this planet." could indeed become reality unless there is some divine intervention.


I-Engineer's picture

C'mon. The level of radiation you are getting from eating that fish would be less than you get from fucking your wife.

All potassium is slightly radioactive.

Nobody For President's picture

How about fucking your girlfriend? Less or more radiation?

GUS100CORRINA's picture

I misspoke when I made the following comment:

"The issue with cesium-137 is that it accumulates in the fish making them unsafe to eat. Normal half life of cesium is about 10 years. It is recommended that period of 30 years pass before it is safe for human consumption."

The correct numbers should be as follows:

"The issue with cesium-137 is that it accumulates in the fish making them unsafe to eat. Normal half life of cesium is about 30 years. It is recommended that period of 300 years pass before it is safe for human consumption.

Note the changes: Half Life of Cesium-137 is 30 years, not 10 years.

So my answer is the situation is 3 times worse than previously noted since cesium-137 radiation is cumulative in a host.

The world is in unchartered territory with this problem. Per latest information, it looks like many tonnes of nuclear fishionable material is melting right to the center of the earth at 4,500 degrees fahrenheit.

What happens when it hits the magma ,,, the China Syndrome? Another volcano?

Maybe that will be the FINAL solution. Fukushima will be sealed off with a lava dome.

A fitting end to man's stupidity don't you think?

PT's picture

If the nuclear material hits the centre of the earth then doesn't the problem bury itself?

Yeah, I'm no geologist and my practical physics knowledge is not enough to answer your other concern.  Nuclear stuff vs the weight of the earth above it?