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TEPCO footage shows deposits inside damaged Fukushima reactor

The inside of the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is seen in this frame grab from video provided by the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID)

TOKYO -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) on April 26 released footage taken inside the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the disaster-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, showing spots where molten fuel appears to have fallen through the reactor pressure vessel.

Photos and video footage show deposits -- believed to be fuel debris -- at the bottom of the containment vessel. In two spots, the debris is piled higher than in other places. TEPCO officials said they suspect that the bottom of the pressure vessel, situated at the upper part of the containment vessel, was damaged in more than one place, which allowed melted fuel to fall into the containment vessel.

TEPCO captured the images in January using a camera attached to a pipe inserted into the containment vessel, and found deposits spread across the bottom of the vessel. The nuclear plant operator will use a robot arm to analyze the containment vessel in more detail.

(Japanese original by Ei Okada and Riki Iwama, Science & Environment News Department)

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