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» TEPCo completed removal of fuel rods at Fukushima plant


TEPCO removed the final four fuel rods from the spent fuel pool in the No. 4 reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant on Dec. 20 — one year ahead of schedule.

The timeline for the spent fuel removal project was moved up due to worries over whether the No. 4 reactor building — heavily damaged by a hydrogen explosion following the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami — could withstand earthquakes.

The No. 4 reactor was undergoing a regular inspection when the disasters struck, so the fuel was not in the core at the time. A total of 1,535 fuel rods were inside of the unit’s nuclear fuel pool — 1,331 of which were spent fuel, and 204 were unused — the highest number among all of the four damaged reactors at the Fukushima plant.

TEPCO began the operation to remove the extremely radioactive spent fuel in November 2013, and finished transferring them to a separate pool in November of this year before subsequently beginning removing the unused fuel. A TEPCO representative commented, “We’d like to use this experience with reactor No. 4 as a model for the other reactors.”

While contaminated machinery from the time of the accident remains inside the No. 4 reactor building, removing it remains a low priority and there are no plans to do so yet.


<Media Report>
Nuclear fuel removal operation finishes at Fukushima No. 4 reactor (Mainichi Newspaper)




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