Fuel removal from undamaged Fukushima reactor

17 October 2013

The removal of fuel from the undamaged reactor of unit 6 of the Fukushima Daiichi plant began today after workers completed operations to remove the reactor pressure vessel lid and major components.

Fukushima Daiichi 6 lid removal for defuelling (Tepco)
Workers remove the reactor pressure vessel lid of unit 6 (Image: Tepco)

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) began work on 17 September to remove the concrete hatch to the reactor compartment. The reactor's containment vessel lid was removed three days later, followed on 5 October by the reactor pressure vessel lid. Since then, the steam dryer and moisture separator have been removed to allow access to the fuel.

Work to remove the fuel from within the reactor started today. All the fuel from the reactor is expected to have been transferred to the site's shared used fuel pool by the end of November.

Reactors 5 and 6, about 200 metres to the north of the damaged units 1 to 4, were shut down for periodic inspections at the time of the earthquake and tsunami and remained safe throughout, although they too lost power for a time.

The operational fate of units 5 and 6 remains unclear, but during a visit to the site last month prime minister Shinzo Abe urged Tepco to decide against trying to restart the two undamaged reactors. Tepco will make a final decision next year on what to do with the units.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News