Five years after Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster that was caused by a tsunami crashing into it, the clean up is proving to be a bigger challenge than expected.

The radiation levels are way too high for humans to enter and to dispose of the highly radioactive materials to prevent the situation from getting worse.

TEPCO and toshiba developed a series of specialized robots that are able to go underwater, into the plants damaged cooling cools to recover the radioactive nuclear rods.

The robots who went into Fukushima’s no-man’s land have not returned after radiation levels in the power plant proved too strong for their circuit boards to handle.  

But none of the robots have returned.

As they approach the radioactive nuclear rods, their circuity melts from the high radiation, turning them into statues.

The clean-up continues almost five years to the day after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station experienced three meltdowns after a tsunami crashed into the coastal power plant in 2011. The deathly high levels of radiation means it’s impossible for humans to go into areas of the plant to dispose of or contain the radioactive materials. And it turns out, robots don’t fare much better either.

“It takes two years to develop a single-function robot,” said Naohiro Masuda, Tepco’s head of decommissioning, in an interview reported by Reuters.

“It is extremely difficult to access the inside of the nuclear plant,” he added. “The biggest obstacle is the radiation.”