OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture--Tokyo Electric Power Co. has removed part of the canopy above a reactor building at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to gauge the effects of anti-scattering agents pumped inside.
It was the first time in three years that debris inside the No. 1 reactor building was visible from the outside. The structure, which was destroyed in a hydrogen explosion a day after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, was covered with the canopy in October of that year.
The removal on Oct. 31 of one of six panels that make up the canopy is the initial stage in work to remove debris and nuclear fuel from inside the structure.
TEPCO drilled holes into the panel, which measures 42 meters by 7 meters and weighs 32 tons, on Oct. 22. It then sprayed anti-scattering resin inside to prevent radioactive substances from stirring up into the air.
The panel was removed to survey the effects of the resin.
The work was performed by a large crane that slowly hoisted the panel and lowered it to the ground, taking about one hour and 40 minutes.
The panel is scheduled to be returned by the end of November. TEPCO plans to start dismantling the entire canopy on a full-fledged basis in March 2015.
Source: Asahi Shimbun