Plans are under way to erect a partially sealed cover over a third reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, to contain radioactive debris during decommissioning work.
On Nov. 14, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it would fit a frame and panels around the No. 3 reactor building, whose roof was shattered in a hydrogen explosion and whose reactor core suffered a partial meltdown.
The cover will help to curb additional environmental contamination when workers are eventually able to begin removing the 566 nuclear fuel assemblies lying in a storage pool there--and begin decommissioning the reactor itself.
It will be the second such newly erected shield. A similar cover already shelters the No. 1 reactor building, and work is underway on another at the No. 4 reactor.
TEPCO said the cover for the No. 3 reactor will measure 19 meters by 57 meters and will stand 54 meters high. Roughly rectangular in shape, it will be aligned east-west, and will weigh 1,500 tons.
The structure will comprise steel frames with an arched section to accommodate equipment such as cranes, which are needed to remove the fuel. Filtered ventilators will help to reduce airborne radioactivity inside the cover.
TEPCO plans to start installation work as soon as it finishes removing debris from the building's upper section.
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