tepco


Removal of fuel at Fukushima's melted nuclear reactor begins

Los Angeles Times

The operator of the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant began removing fuel Monday from a cooling pool at one of three reactors that melted down in the 2011 disaster, a milestone in what will be a decades-long process to decommission the facility. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said workers started removing the first of 566 used and unused fuel units stored in the pool at Unit 3. The fuel units in the pool located high up in reactor buildings are intact despite the disaster, but the pools are not enclosed, so removing the units to safer ground is crucial to avoid disaster in case of another major earthquake similar to the one that caused the 2011 tsunami. TEPCO says the removal at Unit 3 will take two years, followed by the two other reactors, where about 1,000 fuel units remain in the storage pools. Removing fuel units from the cooling pools comes ahead of the real challenge of removing melted fuel from inside the reactors, but details of how that might be done are still largely unknown. Removing the fuel in the cooling pools was delayed more than four years by mishaps, high radiation and radioactive debris from an explosion that occurred at the time of the reactor meltdowns, underscoring the difficulties that remain.


Removal of fuel at Fukushima's melted reactor begins

Al Jazeera

The operator of the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant has begun removing fuel from a cooling pool at one of three reactors that melted down in the 2011 disaster, a milestone in the decades-long process to decommission the plant. Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said on Monday that workers started removing the first of 566 used and unused fuel units stored in the pool at Unit 3. The fuel units in the pool located high up in reactor buildings are intact despite the disaster, but the pools are not enclosed so removing the units to safer ground is crucial to avoid disaster in case of another major quake. Tepco said the removal at Unit 3 would take two years, followed by the two other reactors. The step comes ahead of the real challenge of removing melted fuel from inside the reactors, but details of how that might be done are still largely unknown. Removing the fuel in the cooling pools was delayed five years by mishaps, high radiation and radioactive debris from an explosion that occurred at the time of the reactor meltdown, underscoring the difficulties that remain.


Tepco to deploy robot for first contact with melted fuel from Fukushima No. 1 nuclear disaster

The Japan Times

The owner of the wrecked Fukushima No. 1 power plant is trying this week to touch melted fuel at the bottom of the plant for the first time since the disaster almost eight years ago, a tiny but key step toward retrieving the radioactive material amid a ¥21.5 trillion ($195 billion) cleanup effort. Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. will on Wednesday insert a robot developed by Toshiba Corp. to make contact with material believed to contain melted fuel inside the containment vessel of the unit 2 reactor, one of three units that melted down after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. "We plan to confirm if we can move or lift the debris or if it crumbles," Joji Hara, a spokesman for Tepco said by phone Friday. Tepco doesn't plan to collect samples during the survey. The country is seeking to clean up the Fukushima disaster, the world's worst atomic accident since Chernobyl, which prompted a mass shutdown of its reactors.


Japan to flood the Pacific with one million tons of radioactive water

Daily Mail

Japan is poised to flood the Pacific Ocean with one million tons of radioactive water contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear plant. Storage space at the abandoned facility is running dangerously low as officials race to secure the nearly 160 tons of contaminated water produced at the plant per day. As space for tanks dwindles the Japanese government and the plant's owner Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) may decide to dump treated water into the ocean. Japan is poised to flood the Pacific Ocean with one million tons of radioactive water contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear plant. This image shows the transportation of one of the plant's large steel storage tanks Tepco plans to secure 1.37 million tons of storage capacity by the end of 2020, but it has not yet decided on a plan for after 2021.


Fukushima's Other Big Problem: A Million Tons of Radioactive Water

WIRED

The tsunami-driven seawater that engulfed Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has long since receded. But plant officials are still struggling to cope with another dangerous flood: the enormous amounts of radioactive water the crippled facility generates each day. More than 1 million tons of radiation-laced water is already being kept on-site in an ever-expanding forest of hundreds of hulking steel tanks--and so far, there's no plan to deal with them. The earthquake and tsunami that hammered Fukushima on March 11, 2011 triggered meltdowns in three of its six reactors. That left messes of intensely radioactive fuel somewhere loose in the reactor buildings--though no one knows exactly where.


Tepco to use SoftBank's driverless bus to transport Fukushima workers

The Japan Times

FUKUSHIMA – Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. is set to pick a driverless electric bus made by a SoftBank Group Corp. unit to transport those decommissioning its disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, informed sources said.


More melted nuclear fuel found inside a Fukushima reactor

Daily Mail

More melted fuel has been found at the bottom of the Fukushima power planet, seven years after Japan's worst nuclear disaster.


Watch: Fukushima Robot Finds Chunks Of Nuclear Fuel Debris Underwater

International Business Times

An underwater robot deployed into one of Fukushima's defunct nuclear reactors discovered what appeared to be hunks of melted fuel debris. Video recorded by the robot showed "lava-like" lumps inside the submerged No. 3 reactor. The robot was sent into the reactor through a pipe meant to prevent the escape of radioactive gas, Reuters reported Thursday. Operators aimed for the machine to locate radioactive melted fuel rods in order to remove them and continue decommissioning the plant. Discovering the melted fuel would mark a major accomplishment for plant's cleanup process.


In big step forward, Tepco finds melted fuel at bottom of reactor 3 in Fukushima

The Japan Times

More than six years after the core meltdowns triggered by March 2011 mega-quake and tsunami, Tokyo Electric said Saturday that the robot probing reactor 3 at the defunct Fukushima No. 1 power plant had likely spotted fuel debris for the first time at the bottom of its primary containment vessel. Some of the debris looks like rocks and sand, and was accompanied by scaffolding and other objects from the reactor that had formed a pile about a meter high. On Friday, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. announced that the same robot had found what appeared to be melted fuel at the bottom of the pressure vessel, which holds the core. On Saturday, images released by the utility showed black, lava-like objects discovered by the so-called mini sunfish robot. "It's natural to assume that the debris melted and dropped," said a Tepco official who briefed reporters.


Fukushima Robot Finds Nuclear Fuel Debris 'Hanging Like Icicles' In Power Plant

International Business Times

A robot sent into Fukushima's defunct nuclear power plant found what could potentially be melted nuclear fuel debris -- hanging in the form of "icicles." The machine was deployed to locate the source of the melted debris and potentially clean it up. Officials from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the company tasked with decommissioning the power plant, said the objects the robot spotted were inside the interior of reactor three. The icicle-like objects were hanging onto a control rod drive attached to the bottom of a pressure vessel which holds the core, the Japan Times reported Friday. Read: Fukushima's'Unimaginable' Nuclear Radiation So Destructive, Not Even Robots Can Survive The robot, nicknamed "the Little Sunfish," was sent into the plant Wednesday.