Japan to use virtual reality to dismantle Fukushima n-plant

Tokyo, Jan 8 (IANS) Japan is set to use a virtual reality system to help technicians dismantle the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, the media reported on Friday.

The system is located at the Naraha Remote Technology Development Centre, 12 km (7.5 miles) from the plant and has a 3.6 metre high screen, which simulates 3D images of the inside of the reactor that was struck by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, EFE news reported.

These buildings are currently inaccessible to the workers due to the presence of high levels of radiation.

The centre also contains a replica of the containment vessel of a reactor, which it plans to use to test and investigate methods and technologies for dismantling.

One of the most complicated parts of the entire process is the extraction and safe storage of the melted and solidified fuel that accumulates in reactors 1, 2 and 3 of the nuclear plant.

Before the fuel is removed, the reactors need to be decontaminated and those sections where the water to cool them is filtered has to be repaired.

However, the radiation levels are so high that for the time being authorities have only been able to use remote control devices, such as robots, to access the damaged units.

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency, hopes this technology will help improve efficiency and safety of the tedious process of dismantling the centre, which is estimated to take between 30 to 40 years.

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