Gov’t flip-flops: Unit 4′s fuel rods to be removed starting this year — ‘Buckling’ building, quake concerns behind change

Published: June 21st, 2012 at 11:42 am ET
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INTERVIEW-UPDATE 1-Japan nuclear minister speeds up Fukushima cleanup
Reuters
By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Yoko Kubota
7:53 a.m. CDT, June 21, 2012

Fuel rods in cooling pool have fanned safety worries

Workers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant will begin removing fuel rods from a damaged reactors a year ahead of schedule, a government minister said Thursday, a move to address concerns about the risk of a new quake that could cause a further accident and scatter more radioactive debris.

“We would like to start taking out undamaged fuel this year. Preparation is now under way,” Japan’s nuclear crisis minister, Goshi Hosono, told Reuters in an interview.

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Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) [...] had said in April it aimed to begin removing the fuel rods from the No. 4 reactor at the end of next year.

[...]

Tepco says its analysis shows the No.4 reactor building would hold up in a strong earthquake. But Japanese safety regulators ordered Tepco to recheck its findings last month after measurements showed one of the walls of the reactor building was buckling out by about 3 centimetres (1.2 inches).

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Published: June 21st, 2012 at 11:42 am ET
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