22 Janvier 2018
January 22, 2018
TEPCO starts clearing rubble at No.1 reactor
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has started clearing rubble at the Number 1 reactor. Workers will remove nuclear fuel from its storage pool as they continue the decommission process.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, began on Monday vacuuming finer debris scattered over the spent fuel storage pool in the upper part of the building.
The reactor is one of 3 that suffered a meltdown following the earthquake and tsunami of March 11th, 2011.
After the disaster, a hydrogen explosion destroyed the reactor's roof and iron framework.
The fuel pool is covered with about 1,500 tons of rubble.
The rubble has been an obstacle for workers trying to remove 392 units of spent and unspent nuclear fuel.
TEPCO says it has taken steps to prevent the spread of radioactive dust before starting the rubble clearance.
The operator says it will stop the work immediately if monitoring detects the spread of such dust.
Under a revised decommission plan last year, TEPCO plans to start removing nuclear fuel rods from the reactor's storage pool in fiscal 2023, 3 years behind schedule.
TEPCO plans to finish removing the debris, which includes a mix of molten nuclear fuel and internal structural materials, by the end of March 2022.
TEPCO Starts Clearing Debris at No.1 Reactor
Workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have begun clearing away rubble around one of the plant's reactors.
The 2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered a triple meltdown at the plant. In the number 1 reactor it also caused a hydrogen explosion. 1,500 tons of rubble then collapsed onto a spent nuclear fuel storage pool.
Plant operator TEPCO says it has taken steps to prevent the spread of radioactive dust while work is underway. They expect it to be completed by the end of March, 2022.
The next step will be to remove hundreds of units of spent fuel. There is also the issue of having to locate and remove molten fuel debris. It is seen as the biggest hurdle to decommissioning, a process that is expected to take 40 years.