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NUCLEAR WATCH

JapanFriday, February 17

Robot Stops Working in Fukushima Reactor

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it suspended a survey by a robot at one of its reactors after the device stopped working.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, sent the scorpion-shaped robot into the containment vessel of the plant's No. 2 reactor on Thursday.

The company believes fuel in the reactor melted through its core during the 2011 accident and accumulated at the bottom of the facility's containment vessel.

The survey was aimed at getting a close look at what could be fuel debris -- a mixture of nuclear fuel and melted parts of the reactor.

The robot was also expected to measure radiation and temperatures there to gather data for scrapping the reactor.

TEPCO officials say the device was advancing on a metal rail leading to a central area below the reactor's core, but stopped moving before it could reach the center.

The officials say they decided to give up the robot and cut its remote-control cable.

TEPCO plans to analyze data collected by the robot and figure out how to carry out future probes.

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