Tokyo Electric Power Company and the Japanese government have decided to accelerate the removal of spent fuel rods from one of the reactor buildings at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.TEPCO and government officials on Monday reviewed their medium- and long-term plan aimed at eventually decommissioning all the reactors at the plant, which was damaged by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami last year.They agreed to complete the removal of the fuel rods from a storage pool at the No. 4 reactor building by December of 2014, a year earlier than initially scheduled. They say this is possible because of improved procedures.To achieve this goal, work to remove the fuel rods will start in November of next year, a month earlier than initially planned.The officials regard the removal of the fuel rods from the No. 4 reactor building as the first important step toward decommissioning the facility.In Monday's meeting, officials reported a 3-month delay in installing new equipment for removing various kinds of radioactive contaminants from the water used to cool the damaged reactors.
Dec. 3, 2012 - Updated 11:35