19 Juin 2014
June 19, 2014
TEPCO to transfer unused fuel rods to new location
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant will alter its plan to transfer the fuel rods from the number 4 damaged reactor building. Some fuel rods will be stored at a new location in the plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will apply for approval for the change of plan to the Nuclear Regulation Authority shortly.
As part of the decommissioning efforts of the reactor, work has been underway since last November at the damaged reactor building to transfer more than 1,500 assemblies of spent and unused fuel rods from its pool to a common fuel storage pool in the compound.
In the run-up to the transfer, TEPCO planned to make space in the common pool by removing fuel rods which had already been stored there. It decided to place them in casks.
But the utility says delayed confirmation of the casks' safety has prevented it from preparing the rods in time for the planned transfer.
The company says that with the common pool remaining partially occupied, it will be obliged to transfer and store part of the fuel rods from the number 4 building in the number 6 reactor building instead. Specifically, it will transfer the 180 assemblies of unused fuel rods that are emitting comparatively lower levels of radiation.
The number 6 reactor was offline at the time of the 2011 disaster and escaped serious damage.
TEPCO officials say they hope to begin the transfer to the number 6 building in November. They plan to remove all rods from the number 4 building by the end of this year as scheduled.
Jun. 19, 2014 - Updated 02:56 UTC