Robots Used To Help At Fukushima’s Nuclear Plant Are Burning Out

Five years ago an earthquake triggered a 10-meter high Tsunami that crashed into Japan. One of the buildings affected by this wall of water was Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, ultimately resulting in a meltdown that left the area irradiated and costs people their homes and, unfortunately, many lives. In a big to help speed up the clean up process, companies have been looking at using robots to help clean up and clear the areas still too dangerous for humans. Sadly though it would seem that the radiation involved is too strong for even the robots as they seem to keep burning out.

Tepco is the company responsible for decomposing the wasteland that is Fukushima power plant, the company is not having an easy time though with nuclear rods still unaccounted for. After melting through their containment vessels, the numerous fuel rods could be anywhere within the plant and the robots being developed to search for them are having a hard time.

Naohiro Masuda, Tepco’s head of decommissioning, stated that “it takes two years to develop a single-functional robot”. Given that in order to search each building they require a new robot for just that environment, being able to protect their wires from the radiation is causing delays and difficulty in their searches.

Fukushima Nuclear Plant Warned for Using Windows XP

Wow, this is rather scary news. The Japan Times have reported that Tokyo Electric Power Co. or more commonly known – Tepco has come under fire from an auditor for trying to save money on their infrastructure by delaying their Windows XP upgrade despite windows XP costing 5 times more to run. The company has been using windows XP to run computers that suffered the triple meltdown 4 years ago in 2011.

“Tepco — effectively nationalized through a government bailout after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011 — was hoping to save ¥3.6 billion ($30 million) by continuing to run about 48,000 computers on Windows XP until 2018,”. The Japan Times wrote. “In a report last month, the Board of Audit warned the company not to be so stingy.”

It is now well over a year since Microsoft pulled the plug on Windows XP support, yet millions of computers are still running the 14 year old operating system. When the support ceased,  computers running Windows XP no longer receive new updates to their operating system and users can no longer download security essentials for the device too.

Microsoft made the push to leave Windows XP for major security reasons and urged end users to upgrade to Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. However at this rate they may as well wait until Windows 10 is released, although they may need to temporarily use Windows 7 or 8.1 if they need to upgrade immediately.

Thank you to BGR for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of StaticWorld

Drone Lands Radioactive Sand on Japanese Prime Minister’s Office

A 40-year old Japanese man has admitted to being the drone operator that carried radioactive sand to the top of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office in central Tokyo. All of which to protest nuclear power generation.

The drone in question was a modified DJI Phantom 2, modified to handle the extra weight of the sand. It had a sign on it which said “Radioactive” and was carrying a small container of sand which was contaminated with radioactive cesium and the pre-fitted camera. Even though the radiation levels were not to any health risks, witnesses took this message as the initiation of a terrorist attack.

The unemployed man has been named as Yasuo Yamamoto, he faces a maximum of three years in prison if convicted. “I was operating the drone around 3:30 in the morning on April 9 to express my opposition to nuclear power generation” police quoted the operator was saying.

Shinzo Abe is pushing to restart the nuclear reactors after the devastating tsunami that struck Japan back in 2011 that destroyed the Fukushima power plant. A public broadcaster said that the sand had originated from a beach near the Fukushima meltdown.

The drone remained undetected until last Wednesday when a group of employees were taking a tour of the buildings roof; meaning that the drone has been sat dormant for around two weeks.

Well that peaceful protest ended up badly; how do think a UK Prime Minister or the US President would react if a similar stunt was played on them? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to arstechnica for providing us with this information

 

Russia Will Assist Japan’s TEPCO With Fukushima Nuclear Crisis

Ever since Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant was struck by a Tsunami and an Earthquake back in March 2011 it has been crippled to a state of near-meltdown. Fukushima today acts as the most prominent argument against Nuclear technology as Chernobyl did pre-2011. Japanese TEPCO employees have had to pour water over the spent fuel rods for the last 2 years to prevent over-heating that might lead to another meltdown or even a chain reaction. The consequences of the “worst case scenario” would indeed have international consequences as radiation fallout obeys no borders.

That is why Russia have offered to come to the help of Japan in their TEPCO crisis. Russia have become international field leaders in decommissioning nuclear power plants after the Chernobyl disaster gave them ample experience. Eco News report that Vladimir Asmolov, first deputy director general of Rosenergoatom – the state-owned Russian nuclear utility, has extended a helping hand to TEPCO.

“In our globalised nuclear industry we don’t have national accidents, they are all international,” Mr Asmolov told Bloomberg news agency. “It was clear for a long time that TEPCO was not adequately coping with the situation…It looks like TEPCO management were the last to realise this.”

Japan’s Fukushima crisis is being labelled as the world’s most serious Nuclear incident since Chernobyl. Experts say it is significantly more serious because the amount of nuclear fuel involved is much higher. Levels of radiation in close-by water sources are already unsafe for human habitation. The government had evacuated everyone in a 20km radius of the site but that no go zone is being gradually lifted as radiation levels start to fall.

Image courtesy of Reuters