Animal spotted prowling inside Fukushima nuclear plant’s reactor building
By KOJI KITABAYASHI/ Staff Writer
A fox appears to have been traipsing around a highly radioactive area inside a reactor building at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Dec. 28.
The plant operator said a security camera mounted at a section next to the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor captured footage of the animal around 6 a.m. on Dec. 21. It said the creature appeared intermittently for seven to eight minutes.
Although the animal's den and current whereabouts remain unknown, a TEPCO official said the intrusion is unlikely to adversely affect work being done in preparation for decommissioning the reactor.
According to TEPCO, the security camera showed the 1.3-meter-long animal wandering back and forth near the carry-in entrance to the reactor’s containment vessel.
The area where the animal was spotted is highly radioactive, with a maximum of 10 sieverts of radiation per hour being detected. Entry by humans is strictly restricted.
Decontamination work in the area is being done using robots.
Although the infiltration route has not yet been determined, the official said: “It is possible the animal entered via a gap through which cables are passed or a damaged door which has remained unrepaired since the Fukushima nuclear disaster (in 2011).”