” Workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have been preparing to remove hundreds of fuel rod assemblies from a pool of the facility’s No. 3 reactor building.
The workers have found damaged fuel rod containers after removing a device that had fallen on them during the 2011 disaster. They’re now checking whether the damage will affect their plan to remove fuel from the pool.
A 20-ton device for moving fuel rods in and out of the pool on the building’s top floor was removed on Sunday, more than 4 years after the nuclear accident. High radioactivity prevented workers from carrying out the removal smoothly.
The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, checked the condition of 566 fuel rod assemblies in the pool.
Workers found that the metal casings of 4 assemblies had been distorted and have twisted handles. This is evident in images released by the operator. It says the fuel rods appear undamaged, as radiation levels in the pool have shown no irregularities.
The utility is checking for other damage and studying how to remove the distorted casings from the pool.
Removing fuel rod assemblies from spent fuel pools is an important part of decommissioning work at the plant. More than 1,500 assemblies are still in pools at 3 of the facility’s reactor buildings. ”