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TEPCO to use 'fishing gear-like' robot to hunt for melted fuel at Fukushima nuke plant

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said it will send a fishing gear-like robot into the nuclear fuel containment vessel of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant's No. 1 reactor on March 14 to examine the state of melted nuclear fuel.

This will be the power company's latest in a series of attempts to find and examine nuclear fuel at the plant using robots. TEPCO plans to spend four days on the search in hopes of ascertaining the state of the fuel for the first time. The melted fuel is believed to be in the bottom of the containment vessel, where radioactively contaminated water has accumulated.

The rod-shaped robot measuring about 70 centimeters long will travel through the water inside the vessel after being dropped in on a cable -- like fishing -- through a gap in scaffolding at the site.

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