TEPCO brings Fukushima No. 4 reactor fuel assembly removal forward to 2014

TOKYO —

The government and Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) have announced plans to remove 1,533 fuel assemblies from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant No. 4 reactor by 2014, a year ahead of schedule.

The change in schedule was announced in response to concerns that the building currently suspending the spent fuel pool above No. 4 reactor may be structurally unsound, NTV reported Tuesday.

TEPCO in June reported that the building was tilting and bulging in several places, causing fears that it could collapse, dumping thousands of fuel rods into the earth.

According to TEPCO, the No. 4 reactor was offline when the tsunami struck on March 11, 2011. As a result, 202 fresh fuel assemblies and 1,331 spent fuel assemblies were placed into the pool before the meltdowns occurred. Each assembly contains 50 to 70 rods.

The quake and tsunami caused damage to four of the plant’s six reactors and triggered three core meltdowns. The structure of the No. 4 reactor building was damaged in an explosion, causing fears that it may collapse and the pool be spilled into the earth. The structure was then later reinforced and a lid placed on the pool.

Successful debris clearance work means that extraction of the fuel assemblies is to commence a month ahead of schedule from November next year, TEPCO said. After extraction, the assemblies will be placed into two containers and moved to a common pool in which conditions are thought to be more stable.

Japan Today

  • 2

    Rick Kisa

    somebody remind me....isn't this the no4 reactor that a certain top politician visited and declared that it is safe and that the storage facilities were very strong, reassuring people not to worry?!! Watch out for statements from politicians as they seem ignorant about the dangers posed by nuke reactor plants.......

  • 4

    zichi

    The structure of the outer building mostly destroyed by the explosions and the inner structure which carries the spend fuel pool are separate structures. I didn't read any TEPCO reports that the outer structure was tilting or bulging? The underneath of the pool was reinforced with concrete and steel. All the top floor debris has been removed and the pool covered with thick steel plates.

    The common pool overhead crane was wrecked by the earthquake and will need replacing. The spent fuel in reactors 1-6, the common pool and the cask storage depot on the docks will need moving from the site altogether but no word about what will happen with it?

  • 1

    YongYang

    TEPCO had, after being told to, reported the dire state of Unit 4's structural integrity. This is a good and proper response. It needs to be empties ASAP as it is The Catastrophe waiting to happen. Good speed with your work up at the ongoing Level 7 disasterS.

  • 2

    Disillusioned

    yeah, all well and good, but my questions are, if they can knock one year off their original schedule, why was their original schedule so long? And, if they can knock one year off the schedule, could they knock two or even three years off their original schedule? Seems a tad fishy to me. I am also wondering what corners they are gonna cut to get it done a year quicker. Sorry, but I have absolutely no faith in anything these wombats say.

  • 0

    nandakandamanda

    Good news Tepco, good luck and God speed to your workforce!

  • 1

    Rick Kisa

    @ zichi: This is the story:

    Hosono visits Fukushima No. 4 reactor amid concern over fuel pool

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/hosono-media-visit-fukushima-no-4-reactor-amid-concern-over-fuel-pool

    We wrote our pens dry about his visit

  • 0

    Star-viking

    As Zichi said - pool structure was reinforced. Good to see they're getting ahead on the work, but I hope they're not pushing ahead for publicity and neglecting things more necessary.

  • 2

  • 0

    lesenfant

    Why isn't this the focus of the world right now?? Sorry but forget about what to do with Syria, Americas warS, and everything else. Reactor 4 poses the greatest threat to humanity yet no one seems to care.

  • 0

    bajhista65

    TEPCO in June reported that the building was tilting and bulging in several places, causing fears that it could collapse, dumping thousands of fuel rods into the earth.

    Why? is TEPCO planning to revived that reactor if Pro Nuke LDP win this coming election?

    @lesenfant..... USA is after war... their main money making business.

  • 1

    zichi

    A translation of the TEPCO report. http://www.simplyinfo.org/?p=7238

  • 0

    CrazyJoe

    Everything is spinning like going into a whirlpool drain and people as long as they're on the top of the spin think they're OK, but as they get closer and closer to the drain, it's going to become very problematic for them.

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