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Tepco says it will decommission nuclear reactors at Fukushima No. 2 plant

Kyodo

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. will decommission the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant, its president, Tomoaki Kobayakawa, told Fukushima Gov. Masao Ochibori at a meeting Wednesday.

The facility is the second nuclear plant that the utility company has decided to decommission after accepting it would need to shutter the nearby Fukushima No. 1 plant, which was crippled by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster in the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

Tepco’s decision to scrap Fukushima No. 2, which is expected to cost some ¥280 billion ($2.6 billion), will be formally approved at the company’s board meeting later this month if local municipalities accept the plan.

The prefecture has demanded the utility scrap the reactors at Fukushima No. 2, saying their existence would hamper its reconstruction efforts. The plant has been offline since its operations were suspended due to the 2011 disaster.

If the plan goes ahead, all 10 nuclear reactors in the prefecture — four at the No. 2 plant and six at the No. 1 facility — will be scrapped.

It will also leave the utility company with only the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture and the planned Higashidori nuclear plant in Aomori Prefecture.

Kobayakawa said at the meeting, also attended by the mayors of the two towns — Naraha and Tomioka — that host the plant, that Tepco plans to build a new on-site storage facility for spent nuclear fuel from the reactors at the Fukushima No. 2 plant.

The fuel will be placed in metallic containers and cooled using a dry storage approach, according to the operator.

No decision has been made regarding final disposal of the spent fuel, raising concerns that the radioactive waste may remain on-site for a long time.

The Fukushima No.2 plant currently has around 10,000 assemblies of spent fuel cooling in pools.

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