Removal of nuclear fuel at Fukushima plant resumes after holiday break

FUKUSHIMA–Work to remove nuclear fuel from a damaged reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was proceeding smoothly as efforts resumed Jan. 6 after the conclusion of the New Year’s holidays.

Work initially got under way on Nov. 18 at the storage pool of the damaged No. 4 reactor building to remove 1,533 nuclear fuel assemblies, but was suspended Dec. 22 for the holiday period.

Two officials from the Fukushima prefectural government’s safety management division observed the resumption of the removal work for an hour during the afternoon of Jan. 7. The officials observed Tokyo Electric Power Co. workers lifting a nuclear fuel assembly from the storage pool and putting it into a cask. It was the first fuel assembly removed this year and the 133rd to date.

TEPCO workers remove the fuel assemblies one at a time and place them in a storage cask that can hold 22 of the assemblies. The cask is then transported by vehicle to a common pool on the premises.

TEPCO plans to remove all 1,533 fuel assemblies by December 2014. The prefectural safety management division said it plans to conduct its next observation of the operation as soon as possible.


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