To add a little context to the issue of removing molten fuel from Units 1, 2 and 3 of Fukushima Daiichi, keep in mind while reading this article that no one knows exactly where the melted fuel is, and, therefore, making any plans to remove the fuel is based on a leap of faith that someone will first figure out where the fuel is and then figure out how to safely remove it.
” Japan still aims to start removing nuclear fuel debris at the three damaged reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant in 2021, it was learned Thursday.
The schedule remained intact in a draft update to the government’s roadmap to the decommissioning of reactors 1, 2 and 3, all of which experienced fuel meltdowns during the nuclear disaster from March 2011. The draft was submitted to a meeting of a government task force on the matter.
But it looks inevitable that the government will review the schedule. The exact location of the molten nuclear fuel in the reactors is still unknown and radiation levels in and around the reactors are very high.
In autumn last year, the government and Tepco discussed a delay of about five years in the start of work to remove the fuel debris from reactor 1.
But the draft said Japan will choose the method to remove the debris by the end of September 2018 and start taking out the molten fuel by the end of 2021. It is still unclear which reactor Japan will choose for the first removal work.
Meanwhile, the government is reviewing the schedule for removing spent fuel at storage pools at the three reactors.
Removal work has been slated to begin for reactor 3 by the end of this September. But the work will likely be delayed because radiation levels remain high and operations to remove rubble from the damaged building have not progressed as planned. ”