Today TEPCO released a series of videos taken by the iRobots. Unfortunately instead of providing the raw video, they supplied video from someone cam-cordering the control console screen. The quality is fairly poor. Still there is a lot to learn from the vids.
Two things immediately caught my attention. One, how ineffective the robots are and two, just how much damage the earthquake did. The only good videos are of Unit 3
which did not have a hydrogen explosion. Therefore the damage is all earthquake. (blew that one. Unit 2 didn’t have the hydrogen explosion. No way to tell what damage was earthquake and what was explosion.)
When I first heard about the robots, I assumed that they would be some sort of rugged unit that could go over and/or move fairly heavy debris. Turns out they’re not. Very light weight units. Much of the video (not included in this post) has to do with the robot struggling with the air lock doors. If the dose readings that occasionally became visible on the screen (in the 3-5R/hr range), more useful information could probably have been had by sending in a jumper with a video camera.
The other thing is the damage. It looks like a bomb went off in there! I’m particularly impressed that it shook/blew open the covers to MCC units (think large circuit breakers and motor contactors combined into one unit). The doors are interlocked with heavy catches so that they can’t be opened when the circuit breaker handle is in the “ON” position. But open they did. I can’t imagine the amount of shaking involved.
Rather than spend time describing what I saw, I’ll now provide links to the best of the vids.