Asahi: High radiation levels at reactors preventing Tepco from even preparing for start of decommissioning work — ‘Many uncertainties could easily derail timetable’

Published: May 28th, 2012 at 8:28 am ET
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Rubble hinders decommissioning work at Fukushima No. 4 reactor
AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
May 28, 2012

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A crane and other equipment needed to move the fuel rods will be installed [at Unit 4] in autumn 2013 so that technicians can start the retrieval process.

But there are many uncertainties that could easily derail TEPCO’s timetable, experts say.

Rubble

The plan could be delayed because clearing the structure could take more time than expected because concrete blocks and pieces of steel frame are scattered all around in and out of the No. 4 reactor pool.

Common Pool Full

TEPCO also needs to secure a facility to store fuel rods from the pool, as a common nearby pool has space for only 465 fuel rods remaining.

Leakage

The No. 1 through No. 3 reactors are being cooled by makeshift cooling systems, resulting in the leakage of a large amount of highly contaminated water at the plant.

High levels of radiation in the drainage are preventing the utility from preparing for the start of decommissioning work.

Quake and Tsunami Risk

TEPCO will also have to proceed with decommissioning amid concerns for possible powerful aftershocks and tsunami.

It said that the reactors will be cooled with emergency cooling pumps even if the existing cooling systems are knocked out in such an event.

If a tsunami strikes the plant when the decommissioning work is under way, the makeshift cooling systems could be destroyed and contaminated water could leak into the sea.

Published: May 28th, 2012 at 8:28 am ET
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