Fukushima op­er­a­tor says eigh­teen tonnes of rub­ble re­moved from de­stroyed re­ac­tor

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

The op­er­a­tor of the crip­pled Fukushima nu­clear plant said it has re­moved an 18-tonne piece of rub­ble from a de­stroyed re­ac­tor in what it called a “ma­jor step for­ward” in decom­mis­sion­ing.

Af­ter months of plan­ning, Tokyo Elec­tric Power Co. said it used gi­ant cranes on Sun­day to lift one fuel han­dling ma­chine, which was de­stroyed when a quakesparked tsunami sent some of the plant’s re­ac­tors into melt­down in March 2011.

The com­pany de­scribed the del­i­cate op­er­a­tion as a crit­i­cal step to­ward clear- ing highly ra­dioac­tive spent from the cool­ing pool in­side dam­aged Re­ac­tor No. 3.

The fuel han­dling ma­chine was a key part of the process that trans­ferred nu­clear fuel as­sem­blies into the re­ac­tor core.

“It paves the way for con­tin­ued progress and is a mile­stone in re­duc­ing the risk of re­mov­ing spent fuel as­sem­blies,” said the com­pany’s chief decom­mis­sion­ing of­fi­cer Nao­hiro Ma­suda.

Re­mov­ing fuel from the pool at the site’s re­ac­tors is sched­uled to last un­til the sec­ond half of 2021. fuel rods its badly

How­ever, decom­mis­sion­ing ef­forts to clean up the de­bris at the shat­tered plant are ex­pected to last some four decades.

The an­nounce­ment comes sev­eral days af­ter the gov­ern­ment said com­pen­sa­tion costs from the worst nu­clear dis­as­ter since Ch­er­nobyl in 1986 are ex­pected to be more than US$57 bil­lion.

Tokyo has poured bil­lions of U.S. dol­lars into the em­bat­tled com­pany to keep it afloat as it stumps up cash for decom­mis­sion­ing the re­ac­tors, clean­ing up the mess from the dis­as­ter and pay­ing com­pen­sa­tion.

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