TEPCO removing fuel from Fukushima No. 4 reactor on trial basis

July 18, 2012

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has begun work to remove unused nuclear fuel from the storage pool of the No. 4 reactor of its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The two-day operation was being undertaken on a trial basis.

It marks the first time that TEPCO has endeavored such delicate work since the onset of the disaster triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011.

Full-scale work to remove fuel is not expected until December 2013.

Of the 1,535 fuel units stored in the No. 4 reactor pool, 204 have not yet been used.

TEPCO will remove two unused fuel units in separate procedures on July 18 and 19 to confirm whether they are damaged.

The company said the risks posed by the operation are low because unused fuel emits relatively lower levels of radiation.

The No. 4 reactor building has the largest amount of stored nuclear fuel at the plant.

Concern has been voiced about the damaged structure's ability to withstand an earthquake because of extensive damage caused by a hydrogen explosion shortly after the 3/11 disaster.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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A crane, left, swings into action to remove nuclear fuel from the No. 4 reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on July 18. (Eiji Hori)

A crane, left, swings into action to remove nuclear fuel from the No. 4 reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on July 18. (Eiji Hori)

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  • A crane, left, swings into action to remove nuclear fuel from the No. 4 reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on July 18. (Eiji Hori)

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