TEPCO announced at a meeting with Japan’s NRA that they will conduct a new investigation inside unit 2 around February of 2019. This new work will take a probe and attempt to move fuel debris piled inside unit 2’s containment pedestal. Earlier investigations located piles of reactor fuel debris in the pedestal. Radiation levels in this area were lower than anticipated leaving questions about how much fuel is actually contained in the debris.
This investigation will provide information that can be used in planning for future fuel debris removal. If the debris is loose or dislodges easily, removing it will be easier. Solid debris forms will require industrial cutting tools. There was no mention in the NHK report of any plans to sample the debris. Removing samples for further analysis while equipment is already in containment would seem a prudent use of resources.
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