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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Do it without water!

April 25, 2014

Institute seeks nuclear fuel debris removal ideas



A Japanese government institute is asking engineers from Japan and abroad for their input on removing melted fuel from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The current plan is to fill the reactor containment vessels with water to shield workers from high levels of radiation as they retrieve the fuel.

During a seminar in Tokyo on Friday, officials from the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning, or IRID, told engineers that this method may not be feasible.

They said surveys of the containment vessels found that it may be difficult to locate and plug leaks.

The officials are urging the engineers to study new technology that can monitor fuel debris in a highly radioactive atmosphere, and can protect workers from radiation without the use of water. The government will begin accepting proposals in June.

IRID Executive Director Kazuhiro Suzuki says he hopes nuclear plant engineers will come up with innovative solutions to the problem.

A roadmap for decommissioning the plant projects that fuel removal will start in 2020, or later, at 3 reactors that suffered meltdowns in the 2011 disaster.

Apr. 25, 2014 - Updated 10:17 UTC

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