Heavy control console falls back into Fukushima fuel pool: Tepco

Bloomberg

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it’s detected no change in radiation levels in the No. 3 reactor building of the Fukushima No. 1 power plant after a 400-kg piece of equipment slipped from a crane and fell back into a pool holding spent uranium fuel rods.

The accident happened at around 12:45 p.m. on Friday as the beleaguered utility was attempting to move what it described as a crane control console, according to a statement on its website.

The console, about a meter wide and 1.6 meters high, was blown into the pool on March 14, 2011, when the No. 3 reactor building exploded following an earthquake and tsunami that wrecked the power plant and caused a station blackout.

On Friday, the utility, also known as Tepco was attempting to move the device as part of the cleanup, said spokesman Hiroshi Itagaki. No one was injured and no changes in radiation levels have been detected, he said. The crane was being operated by remote control.

Itagaki said Tepco is unable to say at present whether the accident damaged any of the uranium fuel rods in the pool, but the stable radiation readings indicate otherwise.

Three reactor cores melted in the disaster at the Fukushima plant on March 11, 2011. Tepco is in the midst of the hazardous task of removing spent fuel assemblies from the spent fuel pool perched on top of the No. 4 reactor.