Efforts are underway to decommission the facility. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 IAEA Imagebank
Scientists in Japan have identified what could be fuel debris within the devastated nuclear reactor.
Regarded as the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, the incident at Fukushima, which occurred back in 2011, was triggered by a tsunami which knocked out the station's cooling pumps.
Efforts to clean up the site have been ongoing ever since.
This week, scientists and engineers investigating the interior of the reactor using a special remote-operated robot have located icicle-like structures hanging near a control rod drive that they believe could be corium - a type of nuclear fuel debris formed during a meltdown.
"It is important to know the exact locations and the physical, chemical, radiological forms of the corium to develop the necessary engineering defueling plans for the safe removal of the radioactive materials," said Lake Barrett, a former official at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
"The recent investigation results are significant early signs of progress on the long road ahead."
A Japanese news report with images from inside the reactor can be viewed below.