” The operator of the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant says it will begin removing highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel from one of its reactor buildings on Tuesday.
On Friday, Tokyo Electric Power Company completed the removal of a cask containing 22 assemblies of unused fuel rods from the storage pool of the Number 4 reactor building to a nearby separate storage pool.
TEPCO says there were no problems with the first round of transfer, but sand and fine particles in the storage pool impaired visibility. The utility says it will use a pump to clear the pool of particles for the next round of transfers.
The next round will involve 1,331 assemblies of spent fuel rods, or nearly 90 percent of the 1,511 assemblies in the pool at the Number 4 reactor building. The spent fuel assemblies are highly radioactive so the operation will require extra caution.
This will be the first removal of spent nuclear fuel from a reactor building since a massive earthquake and tsunami seriously damaged the Fukushima plant in March 2011. “