One and a half years have passed since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Tokyo Electric Power Company has many problems to overcome before achieving its promise to decommission the crippled plant in about 40 years.TEPCO has been testing the spent fuel rods in the No.4 reactor pool over the past 2 months. The building structure at the No.4 reactor became fragile after the explosion and possibly unsustainable to more earthquakes in the future.TEPCO is preparing to remove the rods from the pool in December next year. But the debris scattered in the pool could hamper workers from taking them out.The operator also faces difficulty in handling the melted fuel in the No. 1 to No. 3 reactors.It hopes to fill water in the containment vessels to cool down the fuel and is now using endoscopes and robots to find cracks and holes in the vessels. But high-levels of radiation are disrupting these operations.TEPCO also wonders if it can secure enough workers for the next 5 years. It said it will see a shortage of workers unless it finds ways for them to avoid exposure to radiation.But the utility said apart from a few places in the plant, most areas now register radiation levels below 3 millisieverts per hour, compared with 100 millisieverts per hour soon after the accident.
Sep. 10, 2012 - Updated 20:44