Tokyo Electric Power Co. will demolish and replace the makeshift canopy covering a badly damaged reactor building at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in order to remove rubble and radioactive material.
TEPCO, which announced the plan on May 9, said it will take about four years to complete a new cover for the No. 1 reactor building before removing fuel rods from the reactor's pool.
Although the amount of radioactive substances released from the reactor into the air will increase between the time the current cover is removed and the new one is installed, TEPCO said that it will not likely have a significant impact on the exposure assessment.
TEPCO will start demolishing the current cover this winter and then remove concrete and other rubble on the top floor of the building. After that, a crane and other equipment for fuel removal will be installed and a new cover put in place over the building.
The roof and walls of the No. 1 reactor building were destroyed in a hydrogen explosion that occurred on March 12, 2011, the day after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. The protective cover, made of polyester fiber panels, is 47 meters long, 42 meters wide and 54 meters high. It was built over the reactor building in October 2011.
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