21 Février 2018
February 21, 2018
Roof completed for removal of spent fuel rods at Fukushima plant
By HIROSHI ISHIZUKA/ Staff Writer
Work was completed Feb. 21 on a half-cylinder roof designed to trap radioactive substances emitted when spent fuel rods are removed from the No. 3 reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant’s operator, plans to remove the spent fuel from the building’s storage pool as early as this autumn.
Construction work on the roof--23 meters wide and 57 meters long--started in July 2017.
The final piece, weighing about 55 tons, was lifted by a crane and put into place on Feb. 21. The roof is located directly above the storage pool.
A hydrogen explosion severely damaged the original roof of the No. 3 reactor building days after the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered the meltdowns at the plant.
The 566 fuel assemblies in the storage pool pose a serious risk in the event of another disaster striking the plant.
Completion of the roof should advance TEPCO’s plans to remove the fuel rods as soon as possible.
Fukushima plant reactor gets new roof cover
Workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have finished installing a new roof covering for the No.3 reactor building.
The work started last August to set up a dome-shaped cover. It is part of preparations for removing nuclear fuel from the reactor's storage pool. A total of 566 spent and unused fuel units remain in the storage pool of the No. 3 reactor.
On Wednesday, workers installed the last part of the cover, which is 17 meters high and 22 meters wide, and weighs 55 tons.
The cover will prevent radioactive materials from spreading, and shield the building from winds.
Reactors at the Fukushima plant suffered meltdowns after a quake-triggered tsunami hit the plant on March 11th, 2011. The fuel units left in storage pools need to be removed as part of decommission work at the plant.
The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, will clear the pool of rubble and provide workers with training on remotely handling devices for the fuel removal.
Then, it plans to start removing nuclear fuel units from the No.3 reactor's storage pool in autumn this year, ahead of those of other damaged reactors.