Olympus endoscope scrutinizes leaking nuclear reactor

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 19, 2012 7:23 AM
Olympus endoscope scrutinizes leaking nuclear reactor

TOKYO (Reuters) - The operators of Japan's quake-crippled nuclear power plant looked inside one of the ruined reactors for the first time Thursday using an endoscope.

Tokyo Electric Power Co, which is trying to halt radiation leaks from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant destroyed in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, said the endoscope, just 8.5 mm in diameter, would give better idea of what's really happening inside.

"It will help us keep the reactor stable and solve problems," a spokeswoman said.

The company had expected to find out how high the water was inside the reactor, which is in a state of "cold shutdown," but it could not see that far.

But the company said the Olympus endoscope confirmed the temperature inside the reactor was in line with the gauge outside.

Tens of thousands of tonnes of water contaminated with radiation have accumulated at the plant, 240 km (150 miles) northeast of Tokyo, after Tepco, early in the crisis, tried to cool reactors that suffered meltdowns by pouring in water, much of it from the sea.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Nick Macfie)