TEPCO COMPLETES NUCLEAR FUEL REMOVAL FROM No. 3 REACTOR AT FUKUSHIMA

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. has removed all 566 nuclear fuel assemblies from the spent fuel pool of the No. 3 reactor at its Fukushima No. 1 plant.
It is the first time that fuel removal has been completed for any of the three reactors that suffered meltdowns in the March 2011 accident at the plant in Fukushima Prefecture.
The fuel removal operation at the No. 3 reactor began in April 2019.
On Sunday, the company using remote control devices moved the last six assemblies to a common storage facility within the plant premises. A large covering was placed over the upper part of the No. 3 reactor building to prevent radioactive substances from being scattered.
Tepco planned to start the fuel removal from the No. 3 reactor building as early as late 2014, but delayed the schedule repeatedly as it faced difficulty getting rid of debris left by the explosion in the building.
The operation also took more time than expected due to machinery malfunction issues.
The removal of 1,533 fuel assemblies from the No. 4 reactor building was completed in December 2014.
The No. 3 unit is one of the three reactors that suffered core meltdowns following the earthquake and tsunami disaster on March 11, 2011. There still are 1,007 fuel assemblies stored in the pools in the heavily damaged No. 1 and No. 2 reactor buildings.
Under the roadmap for decommissioning the complex compiled by TEPCO and the government, work to remove 615 fuel assemblies remaining in the No. 2 reactor's building will start between fiscal 2024 and 2026 and that for 392 fuel units from the building housing the No. 1 reactor between fiscal 2027 and 2028. The company's business year starts in April.
(Source: Tepko/Japan Times/Kyodo News – Image: Fukushima No. 3 reactor on March 21, 2011/Tepco)

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