Endoscope gives first glimpse inside ravaged Fukushima reactor

TEPCO has revealed images from inside the Fukushima second reactor, taken with an industrial endoscope, provided by Olympus.

TEPCO, the owners of the ruined Fukushima nuclear plant, have revealed images from inside the damaged second reactor.

Using an industrial endoscope, they were finally able to see the extent of the damage first hand. The images however reveal that the coolant water level was lower than they had estimated.

The endoscope took pictures from around 4 meters to the reactors base, but could not show any coolant water. TEPCO had estimated the level to be around 4.5 meters based on pressure levels. Yet, the temperature inside the reactor was close to their other readings.

Blurry images from inside the reactor reveal no damage, but no coolant water either.

The blurry images did not indicate any damage on the pipes and walls, but unfortunately high levels of gamma radiation prevented clear images.

TEPCO official Junichi Matsumoto remained positive about the results. "The visual artefacts provoked by the high level of radiation and other leaks are a viewing obstacle, but nevertheless the images are of relatively good quality in some areas."

The endoscope, provided by Olympus, is equipped with a 360-degree camera, allowing for them to get a good look at the state of the reactor. They were able to record about 30 minutes worth of images using the probe.

Over the past few weeks, new information and problems have been spilling out from Fukushima, so obtaining imagery to reassure the public is a positive step for TEPCO.

It was recently revealed that TEPCO had left backup power for the plant detached for four months prior to the devastating March 2011 earthquake, meaning that data on the plant couldn't be sent to the government for around 2 hours following the initial outbreak.

Radioactive gravel from the area has also been traced to building projects in schools, apartment buildings and private housing in Fukushima, causing pressure on TEPCO to provide compensation for those affected.

Image source: Japan Today.