TEPCO: The Cat's On The Roof

Remember that old joke about the guy who went on vacation and left his brother home to watch his cat? The cat fell off the roof and died. When the brother called to ask how his cat was, his brother said, "I'm sorry to tell you that your cat just died."

The brother was really upset and said, "You don't just come out and say something like that. You should have prepared me. You could have said, 'The cat's on the roof, I've called the fire department, we're trying to get him down'. That's how you prepare someone for bad news: something like that."

Then he asked his brother, "By the way, how's mom?"

"She's on the roof..."

Every single time we get an "official" update on Fukushima, I think of this joke.

Fuel of the Fukushima nuke plant plant's No. 1 reactor could be melting, an official said on Wednesday at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) , the operator of the crippled plant.

TEPCO said last week some of the spent nuclear fuel rods stored in the No. 4 reactor building of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant were damaged..

The company's workers have put iRobot PackBots to measure radiation, oxygen and temperature inside the reactor..

In other reports, they're having problems with the robots:

Tokyo Electric Power Company says radioactive debris and high humidity are hampering the investigation by robots at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The company began using remote-controlled robots to explore the first three
reactor buildings on Sunday and Monday.

At the Number 2 reactor building, the robot's camera lens was instantly clouded by high humidity. TEPCO officials think that the steam is coming from the damaged section of the reactor's suppression pool. But they have not found a way to resolve the problem as the steam could be highly toxic.

Robots entered the Number 3 reactor building through the southern entrance, but their path was blocked by debris. The firm is considering using another robot that can remove obstacles weighing up to 100 kilograms.

At the first reactor building, robots were able to advance 40 meters along the northern side wall.

The use of robots is aimed at paving the way for staff to work inside the contaminated buildings to stabilize the reactors, but the prospects of success remain unclear.

Do I hear a "meow"?


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