Fukushima N-fuel debris removal plan detailed

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A government-backed organization in charge of supporting the decommissioning of nuclear plants is considering proposing starting the removal of melted nuclear fuel debris from the No. 2 reactor among three heavily damaged reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, officials said Thursday.

Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp., or NDF, believes that the No. 2 reactor is the most suitable for melted fuel removal work to be conducted based on the results of its investigation into radiation levels at the reactors and the conditions inside them.

In January 2018, TEPCO confirmed deposits of melted nuclear fuel debris inside the No. 2 reactor containment vessel of the plant in Fukushima Prefecture that was damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

In February this year, the company made physical contact with the deposits by using equipment, making much more progress in investigating the No. 2 reactor than the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors.

TEPCO plans to carry out an additional investigation into the inside of the No. 2 reactor by the end of March next year, aiming to collect sample debris.

According to a summary of a strategic plan on decommissioning that was released by NDF, a robot arm is expected to be inserted into the reactor containment vessel in order to suck in melted fuel little by little.

Removed debris is slated to be stored in a special container and transferred to a storage facility within the plant.

NDF plans to submit its proposals, including the strategic decommissioning plan, to the government around autumn this year.

After receiving the proposals, the government plans to decide by the end of March next year ways to remove the debris. It aims to start debris removal in 2021.Speech

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