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IAEA starts decommission review

November 25, 2013


IAEA starts review at Fukushima







A team of experts formed by the International Atomic Energy Agency began Monday reviewing Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s ongoing efforts to scrap the crippled reactors at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The team will focus on the management of the radioactive water buildup at the site and fuel-removal work that has just started at a pool inside the damaged reactor 4 building, team leader Juan Carlos Lentijo told a press conference in Tokyo.

“The removal of the spent fuel is an essential activity toward decommissioning. Our idea is to review the full process that Tepco has developed for the purpose and all the precautions adopted to develop these activities in a safe way,” the director of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology said.

On Nov. 18, Tepco started a delicate mission to remove over 1,000 fuel assemblies from the spent fuel pool at reactor 4, nearly three years after the plant suffered meltdowns and hydrogen explosions in the early days of the nuclear crisis.

During the work through Friday, workers finished transferring the first batch of fuel rod assemblies, all unused ones, from the unit 4 spent fuel pool to another building with more stable storage conditions.

After the press conference, Lentijo held a meeting with officials of the government and Tepco and told them the successful commencement of the fuel removal was “promising” for subsequent activities, including the same operation that needs to be undertaken in three other crippled units.

The IAEA team, consisting of 19 members, will issue a preliminary report of its main findings at the end of the mission on Dec. 4, and a final version of the report in around two months’ time.

It is the second time that Japan has accepted an IAEA review mission on work toward decommissioning the reactors 1 to 4 at the Fukushima plant. The previous mission was carried out in April.




IAEA starts Fukushima decommission inspection



A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency is in Japan to inspect the decommissioning process at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The team began its work in Tokyo on Monday.

The 19-member team includes experts in the decommissioning of reactors and radioactive substances. This is the second such mission by the IAEA team, after one in April.

Team leader Juan Carlos Lentijo spoke before starting the mission, which is scheduled to run until Wednesday of next week.
He said he wants to share with the world what the team learns from the Fukushima decommissioning. He said this time the team will focus on two issues.
One is what he calls the critical issue of radioactive water, and the other is the removal of nuclear fuel, an essential step in the decommissioning process.

The team has started to gather information from government officials in Tokyo and from the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company.

It will visit the plant on Wednesday to confirm that the nuclear fuel is being safely removed from the number-4 reactor building.

After the team completes its inspection, it will submit to the Japanese government a report containing recommendations regarding the decommissioning process.

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