All spent fuel removed from reactor 4 pool at Fukushima No. 1, Tepco says


Tepco said Saturday it has finished removing all fuel rods from the spent-fuel pool in the shattered reactor 4 building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, in a rare piece of positive news from the decommissioning process.

A total of 1,535 fuel rod assemblies, comprising 1,331 deemed at risk and 204 that were unused, have been transferred to other buildings following a yearlong process by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the beleaguered operator of the wrecked plant.

According to Tepco, this will reduce the risk of the spent fuel rods being exposed in the event of a new earthquake or a major accident.

“Completion of the removal work is a milestone and I feel deeply about it,” plant chief Akira Ono told reporters, while stressing that the decommissioning of Fukushima No. 1 remains an extremely lengthy process.

The overall cleanup and dismantling of the plant, an operation that is expected to take decades, has been delayed by a relentless on-site buildup of toxic radioactive water.

Reactor 4 avoided a core meltdown when the tsunami spawned by the March 11, 2011, earthquake ripped through the No. 1 plant, as the unit was offline for a regular inspection and all of its fuel was stored in the pool on the upper level of the building.

But the building was torn apart by a hydrogen explosion just days later as the enormity of the nuclear crisis was only just becoming apparent. The over 1,500 fuel rod assemblies that continued to be stored at the top of the devastated structure had remained a major source of concern, in Japan and overseas.

Tepco hopes to begin extracting the fuel from the reactor 3 spent-fuel pool in the next fiscal year beginning in April, and to begin the same operation at reactor 1 during fiscal 2017. But it is unknown whether the work will follow that schedule given the sky-high radiation levels that continue to plague reactors 1 through 3, which each suffered core meltdowns, and which put the levels clocked in reactor 4 in the shade.

  • Starviking

    And we were told in this very paper that TEPCO couldn’t do it.

    Well now they have.

  • Alan Reid

    Ya. Ok. Now what about the 5600 tons of fuel in the Common Spent Fuel Storage Unit just 50 meters away from reactor four? What will happen if they loose control of that pile of garbage? Do i move to the moon?

  • agileprovocateur

    The spent fuel pools blew up and caught fire several times in unit 4 so why does this picture look like its a perfect building ?? Where is the proof this is unit 4 ?? the official pictures of unit 4 show the entire building completely destroyed yet you show a perfect building . So its official your faking this picture of unit 4 , if we can not trust media and journalist to fact check your data why do you exist and do you really think this is not going to blow back into your lives you best think again . Dana Durnford aka thenuclearproctologist

  • Investigator

    And the tin-foil hat crowd said it couldn’t be done.

    I wonder if they (Caldicott and the rest of the anti-nuclear circus of clowns) will update the books they are always hawking or whether this news will effect their speaker fees and donations.

  • Tesla_X

    It helps to have some humor in this constantly changing world…takes some of the edge off.

    Thanks for the added reading.

  • Alan Reid

    Never think that a mistake was made about the location. A moron could be fooled but a reporter requires CA$H. Look at ever second of the footage they released and you will find a edit trail your arm long. Lies are that path. Go to the higher rocky ground and ask about the melt out of the machine pool. Don O2 and climb to the top and look down and you will see them making the whole thing WORSE at every turn and report. A disgusting read i have had and these folks are all on the list of swept away. WE have to survive their killing spree if we can. Stop hoping for happy joy joy and get to the real workload… Stopping the waste of time baloney worship. Fukushima is just filling up her tanks for this run of death. I am almost certain the whole offload hoax was shot in unit four of Daini down the coast from Daichi. The whole game so far is played. The Common Spent Fuel Storage Unit a mere 50 meters away from units 3 and 4 is located in the most dangerous place it could ever be in, Bathed in ever increasing amounts of contamination,A wide spread plutonium contamination of the whole site, A bewerdering array of X-rays coming off all that rad water tank farm psychosis. If that 5600 tons of fuel assemblies burns the planet is not going to be too for food eating air breathing water drinkers. Move the pool. Not moving the pool proves their willingness to kill most of the life on this planet. Are you going to let it burn knowing you will be killed if it does? What about you other 5 or 6 Billion? You ready to check out because you did nothing to save yourself? Me? I am getting sick of getting nowhere.