TEPCO removes unused fuel rods from pool
July 18, 2012
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has begun removing two unused fuel rods from a storage pool in the No. 4 reactor.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, began the work on Wednesday as a test for eventually removing all 1,535 fuel rods stored in the pool, including 204 unused ones.
Workers are carefully monitoring radiation levels and footage from underwater cameras to make sure they remove unused fuel rods, instead of a highly radioactive spent one.
This is the first time fuel rods are being removed from the storage pool since the plant was damaged in the earthquake and tsunami last March 11th.
In late August, TEPCO will check if there's any damage and corrosion to the metal container used to store the fuel rods.
If workers can successfully remove the 2 fuel rods, the utility plans to extract the remaining rods beginning in December 2013, as the first step in decommissioning four of the reactors at the Daiichi plant.
The building housing the reactor was heavily damaged by a hydrogen explosion following the earthquake and tsunami. This has raised concerns that fuel rods in the pool on the fifth floor of the building could pose a threat in the event of another earthquake. NHK World
See previous spent fuel pool related posts under Japan tag.