The No. 1 reactor building at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is completely exposed after the last of 18 temporary protective covers was removed on Nov. 10.
Crippled Fukushima Reactor Fully Exposed for the First Time Since 2011 Disaster
The last cover was removed from the Fukushima-1 Nuclear Plant reactor No. 1, local media reported on November 10. Now all the temporary protective constructions have been demolished, and the reactor is completely exposed for the first time since 2011’s nuclear catastrophe.
Demolition works conducted by the plant’s operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) have been ongoing for two years. Today a large crane lifted off a 20-ton cover, the last of the 18 panels installed after the event.
The next step is the removal of 392 fuel assemblies from the spent fuel pool and melted nuclear fuel from inside the building, Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun reported
According to Japanese national broadcaster NHK, the fuel extraction will only start in four years. TEPCO is currently installing the necessary equipment and assessing the state of the reactor building’s interior in efforts to remove debris from the collapsed roof over the spent nuclear fuel pool. TEPCO has to be sure to avoid stirring the radioactive dust while shrouding the reactor building with tarpaulins.
The covers were installed in October 2011 as a temporary measure against the spread of radioactive substances after the triple meltdown of the plant.
The tragedy at the Fukushima-1 plant happened on March 11, 2011 after a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck the northeast coast of Japan, leading to the leakage of radioactive material from the plant into the surrounding environment. The nuclear accident is the largest one since the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986. It is expected to take about 40 years to entirely clean up the area.
Last cover removed from crippled reactor in Fukushima
The No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is completely exposed for the first time in five years after the last of the temporary protective covers for the crippled structure was removed Nov. 10.
The next step will be to extract nuclear fuel inside the reactor building, which was wrecked by a hydrogen explosion in the early stages of the March 2011 nuclear disaster.
The covers were installed the following October as a temporary measure against the spread of radioactive substances after the triple meltdown triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
A large crane lifted off the 20-ton cover, the last of the 18 panels installed, around 6 a.m. on Nov. 10.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. began removing the covers one by one in September.
The 392 fuel assemblies are stored in the spent nuclear fuel pool inside the building. Melted fuel also remains inside the reactor.
TEPCO will assess the state of the reactor building’s interior in efforts to remove debris from the collapse of a roof over the spent nuclear fuel pool.
It will take precautions to prevent dust containing radioactive substances from being stirred up by shrouding the reactor building with tarpaulins.