Nearly a decade after the three meltdowns at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, plans are underway to finally remove nuclear fuel debris from the three reactors.

But in order to remove it, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (Tepco), the operator of the plant, needs to ensure there is a place to store the debris once it is retrieved. This is thought to be the reason why the government is rushing to give the green light to releasing tritium-laced water piling up at the plant into the Pacific — to give room for the storage of fuel debris.

But removing the fuel debris — a crucial step in the decommissioning process — is an enormous task on its own, with measures that need to be resolved emerging one after another.