lundi 18 novembre 2013

Removal of fuel rod units at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan starts

The removal of fuel rod units at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan 
starts on Monday.
This is the first critical step in decommissioning the facility in Fukushima .
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, said that workers will start removing units of nuclear 
fuel rods from a storage
 pool at the plant's Number 4 reactor.The pool holds 1,533 units of which 1,331 are highly radioactive 
spent fuel rod units 
and 202 that are unused.In March 2011, a hydrogen explosion severely damaged the reactor building. 
The workers will use a crane attached to a specially built structure.
In preparation for the removal, TEPCO conducted inspections on the new facility and trained the workers 
who will participate in the removal.They plan to transfer the units into a cask under water in the pool, 
then use a crane
 to lift out the cask and transfer it to an outside storage pool about 100 meters away.
In the morning an empty cask will be lowered into the pool and the fuel rod units will be placed into
 it in the afternoon.
The pool is still littered with small debris that could hamper smooth removal of the units.
Some damage to the units that was previously unknown could still be found.  
The job requires extreme caution as any damage to the fuel rod units or the cask could unleash 
high-level radiation.
The start of the removal is the first milestone in an unprecedented decommissioning process
 that could span 4 decades.
TEPCO plans to finish removing all the fuel rod units from the Number 4 reactor by the end of 2014.
  Nov. 18, 2013 - Updated 00:22

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