Jiji Press FUKUSHIMA (Jiji Press) — Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. started on Sunday work to install equipment to be used for removing fuel from the storage pool at a reactor at its disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture.
The equipment, weighing 72 tons, was lifted up to the upper part of the plant’s No. 3 reactor using two large cranes.
The pool, located on a floor 36 meters above the ground, holds a total of 566 spent and unused nuclear fuel assemblies. TEPCO plans to begin removing the fuel from the No. 3 reactor storage pool in the middle of fiscal 2018.
The installation work was originally slated to start on Saturday, but was postponed due to strong winds.
With the device, the fuel assemblies will be moved from the pool to sturdy containers, which will be tightly sealed to block strong radiation emitted from the fuel. The work will be conducted in the water-filled pool. The containers will be then lowered to the ground using a different crane and transferred to another pool away from the reactor for storage.
The building for the No. 3 reactor was heavily damaged due to a hydrogen explosion that occurred shortly after the nuclear power station in Fukushima Prefecture was knocked out by the tsunami from the 9.0-magnitude earthquake in March 2011.
After debris from the blast was removed from the upper part of the No. 3 reactor, TEPCO started work in late July this year to install a cover on the top of the reactor to shield the fuel-removing equipment from weather damage and prevent radioactive materials from spreading.