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Tepco offers English-language virtual tour of crippled Fukushima nuclear plant

07 November 2018

Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), the owner of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, has launched an English-language online virtual tour of the interior of the crippled power plant allowing website visitors to check the progress of decommissioning work since the plant was destroyed by a tsunami in 2011, causing one of the world’s worst nuclear crises.

The six-reactor plant suffered a series of reactor meltdowns and explosions after being flooded by the tsunami that followed the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake on 11 March 2011.

Reactors 1, 2 and 3 suffered fuel meltdowns, while hydrogen explosions damaged the buildings housing reactors 1, 3 and 4. Following the disaster some 160,000 people were evacuated. More than 40,000 remained displaced as of late September 2018.

Inside Fukushima Daiichi offers views of 10 routes within the plant’s premises, which are separated into zones according to the degree of radioactive contamination.

Images include a barrel-shaped cover structure on top of the No. 3 unit, which suffered a hydrogen explosion that blew off the roof off of the building. The website also offers close-up images of scarred walls with wires hanging from the side of the No. 3 reactor, as well as people in protective gear working at various locations.

Viewers can take a tour up to the entrance of the containment vessel of the No. 5 unit, located on higher ground and unscathed by the tsunami. It has a similar structure to the affected units.

Radiation levels in each area, measured this March, are indicated on the side of the screen as visitors follow the virtual tour of the facility.

Visitors can also find answers to various questions by clicking icons that pop up on the screen, such as explanations about equipment and the work that is being conducted inside. There are 360-degree views of some sites.

Tepco said it launched the English version last week, following the release of a Japanese version in March, after receiving requests to see current conditions at the plant.

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