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3 March, 2021

Challenged by Rubble, TEPCO Completes Removal of Spent Fuel Assemblies from Pool at Fukushima Daiichi-3 NPP

On February 28, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced that it had completed removal of 566 spent fuel assemblies from the Unit 3 spent fuel pool at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs).

This is a major accomplishment—the first from a plant with a melted reactor core. It follows the removal of 1,535 assemblies from Unit 4, which had been shut down at the time of the accident. The work, carried out by remote control, was difficult, hampered by rubble and debris, as well as by quality-control procurement issues and other problems with equipment. With improvements, perseverance and training, the utility completed the removal at Unit 3 by the end of FY20 (i.e., by March 31, 2021), as targeted in the “mid-to-long-term roadmap” toward the decommissioning. Removal was accomplished within a dome-like cover installed at the upper part of the reactor building. It had been slated to start in mid-FY18 (around September 2018), but there were difficulties with equipment and facilitie...more
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