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Tokyo Electric Power Co. started a yearlong operation Monday to remove hundreds of nuclear fuel assemblies stored atop reactor 4 at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant to prevent the rods from causing another radiation catastrophe.

The building housing reactor 4 was hit by a hydrogen explosion in the early stages of the triple meltdown triggered by the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and giant tsunami it spawned.

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