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Tuesday, 19 November 2013

TEPCO gives first glimpse of fuel rod removal

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TEPCO gives first glimpse of fuel rod removalThis handout picture taken by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) on Monday shows nuclear fuel rods being removed from the No. 4 reactor at the Fukushima nuclear plant.AFP
TOKYO —

...Video footage supplied by the company showed Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) workers with protective suits inside a reactor building as a crane lowered a huge metal cask into a storage pool filled with uranium and plutonium rods.
....
Removal of the fuel rods is a tricky but essential step in the decommissioning of the complex, which is expected to take decades.
On Monday, the company said it expects to remove 22 assemblies over two days, with the entire operation scheduled to run for more than a year.
The huge crane, with a remote-controlled grabber, is hooked onto the assemblies, placing them inside the fully immersed cask.
The 91-ton cask will then be hauled from the pool to be loaded onto a trailer and taken to a different storage pool about 100 meters away
TEPCO said the work was on schedule with the 22 assemblies expected to be placed inside the cask by Tuesday evening......
...The fuel assemblies needed to be kept in a more stable facility, but experts have warned that slip-ups in the removal operation could trigger a rapid deterioration in the situation.
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The work that began Monday pales in comparison with the much more complex task that awaits engineers, who will have to remove the misshapen cores of three other reactors that went into meltdown.
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