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Thursday, 16 October 2014

Plans to remove cover over damaged Fukushima reactor draws concern

The cover over the No. 1 reactor building of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in June 2014 

October 16, 2014
Amid local concerns of the further spread of radioactive materials, Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced plans to start dismantling the canopy installed over the destroyed Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant's No. 1 reactor building.
The operation, announced by TEPCO on Oct. 15, will remove the cover that was erected in October 2011 over the building to prevent radioactive materials from entering the atmosphere.
The structure's walls and roof were destroyed in a hydrogen explosion that occurred after the plant was struck by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
The process, which will begin Oct. 22, is a necessary step in removing the vast amounts of highly contaminated debris, rubble and dust that remain inside the building.
However, as the work to clear debris at the plant's No. 3 reactor building in August 2013 spread radioactive materials in the area, the Fukushima prefectural government and experts are calling for careful measures to be taken in the dismantling.
The utility plans to monitor closely the radioactivity levels and dust within the plant's grounds during the operation.
According to TEPCO, the company has informed the prefectural government and 13 nearby municipalities that it will release the detailed schedule for the work before actually dismantling the canopy.
In the removal, the utility will drill 48 holes in the roof of the cover, each 30-centimeter squares. From the holes, synthetic resin will be sprayed as anti-scattering agents inside the building to minimize the possibilities of radioactive materials rising.
Starting from the end of this month, two of the six roof panels will be removed to install a camera to monitor the status of the debris inside.
Once the condition of the rubble is better understood, a specific schedule for the dismantling process will be created. The utility plans to begin major operations in March 2015 in hopes of starting the removal of debris in fiscal 2016.
Source: Asahi Shimbun
 http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201410160049
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