Fukushima operator begins milestone task of removing nuclear fuel rods from damaged reactor
By Editor - Mon Apr 15, 3:21 am
Operators of Japan’s nuclear power plant in Fukushima have started the milestone task of removing fuel from the first of three reactors that melted down during the 2011 disaster. The process is a critical step in the decades-long decommissioning process to ensure the plant is not vulnerable to further nuclear accidents if hit by another major quake and tsunami. It is the first time operators Tokyo Electric Power Co. have removed fuel from any of the three reactors that went into meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi plant following the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. On Monday, workers started removing 514 units of spent fuel and 52 units of unused fuel, a sensitive process that will reportedly take an estimated two years, before it is repeated in the two other reactors. Due to high radiation levels inside the reactor building, workers located around 500 meters away are remotely operating a crane built beneath a roof to raise fuel from a storage rack in the pool before placing it into a protective cask. The removal process takes place underwater to prevent radiation leaks, with workers loading seven fuel units into each cask, which is then lifted from the pool, lowered into a truck and then stored in a safer cooling pool at another site on the plant. An earlier process involved removing 1,535 nuclear fuel units from the No.
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