Removal of nuke fuel debris at Fukushima plant set for 2020

June 11, 2013

By JIN NISHIKAWA/ Staff Writer

The extraction of melted nuclear fuel rod debris at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant could begin in 2020, or 18 months earlier than originally anticipated, the central government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. said June 10.

In releasing a draft amendment to the current decommissioning road map, however, the government and TEPCO said they are not expecting the entire decommissioning process to end earlier than they had initially planned, which is 30 to 40 years after the nuclear disaster that was set off by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

The latest draft document is the first to have presented the timeline of fuel debris removal separately for the three reactors that went into meltdowns.

It said the extraction process could begin during the first half of fiscal 2020 at the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors, and during the second half of fiscal 2021 at the No. 3 reactor, if circumstances enable workers to follow the least time-consuming methods that involve basic equipment.

But the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 reactors will have to wait until the second half of fiscal 2022, the first half of fiscal 2024 and the second half of fiscal 2023, respectively, for the extraction process to begin if the most time-consuming methods have to be followed, the draft said.

The workers have yet to gain a grasp of the locations and condition of the fuel debris. They have yet to develop extraction equipment and determine removal methods.

The government and TEPCO are expected to meet by the end of June to revise their decommissioning road map on the basis of the latest draft amendment.

By JIN NISHIKAWA/ Staff Writer
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The No. 1 reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

The No. 1 reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • The No. 1 reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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