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Nuclear fuel debris removal at Fukushima plant could start with No. 2 reactor

The Japan Times

A government-backed organization in charge of supporting the decommissioning of nuclear plants is considering to propose starting the removal of melted nuclear fuel debris beginning with the No. 2 reactor 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 unit is the most suitable for melted fuel removal work among the three heavily damaged reactors 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 that was damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. In February this year, the company made physical contact with the deposits using equipment, making much more progress in investigating the No. 2 reactor than the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors. Tepco plans to further investigate the inside of the No. 2 reactor by the end of March next year, aiming to collect sample debris.

Japan News: Fukushima Cleanup Uncovers Possible Melted Radioactive Fuel At Nuclear Plant Reactor

International Business Times

Tokyo's utility company discovered Monday what it suspects could be nuclear fuel debris inside of a reactor at its destroyed Fukushima plant in Japan. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has led efforts to clean up the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant after three of its reactors melted down in 2011 following a massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake and tsunami that killed over 15,000 people and caused the world's worst nuclear disaster since Ukraine's Chernobyl explosion in 1986. The company discovered black lumps resembling a substance that had melted and stuck to the steel of the No. 2 reactor. "This is a big step forward as we have got some precious data for the decommissioning process, including removing the fuel debris," said an official quoted by Reuters. Yuichi Okamura, the general manager of Tepco's nuclear power and plant siting division, said the anomalies were still "difficult to identify," according to The Japan Times.

Group mulls Fukushima No. 1 melted fuel debris extraction without filling containment vessels with water

The Japan Times

A state-backed entity is expected to soon compile a plan for decommissioning the crisis-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant, unveiling how to extract fuel debris from three reactors for the first time, sources said Tuesday. The Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp., tasked with providing technical support for decommissioning the complex, may propose a method to remove nuclear debris without fully filling their reactor containment structures with water, the sources said. It means the debris inside reactors 1, 2 and 3 at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 complex is likely to be shaved off gradually with a drill or laser equipment, while pouring a water shower under a remotely controlled operation, the sources said. A method to fulfill reactor containers with water first is effective in blocking radiation from spreading but the entity decided not to adopt the approach as the three reactor containers are believed to have been damaged and water would probably leak out. Under the method the entity currently envisions, some debris would remain in the air during the operation so a major challenge facing the debris extraction work is how to shield from radiation and prevent debris from flying off.

Tepco spots Fukushima fuel debris in reactor 2, says fuel rod assembly 'fell out of reactor'

The Japan Times

Tokyo Electric on Friday said it had spotted fuel debris in reactor 2 at the Fukushima No. 1 plant that shows its fuel assembly likely dropped through the containment vessel.

Fukushima Nuclear Radiation Workers No Longer Wearing Protective Gear Near Power Plant Reactor

International Business Times

In the midst of an extensive cleanup operation, workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan were finally able to shed the heavy protective gear they've needed for six years. Workers were able to wear regular uniforms at about 95 percent of the site, the Japan Times reported Saturday. Officials from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (Tepco), the company responsible for the plant's decommissioning, invited a group of reporters to tour the power plant grounds in recent weeks. About 7,000 employees have worked to remove radioactive debris, cover the tainted soil with nonporous materials like mortar and move tainted water to secure tanks to reduce radiation. "Our near-term goal is to create a place where they can work without worries," said Daisuke Hirose, a spokesman for Tepco's decommissioning body, Fukushima No. 1 Decontamination & Decommissioning Engineering Co., told the Japan Times.