566 fuel assemblies, 514 spent fuel assemblies and 52 unused ones, Tepco has always said so. But since the fuel pool was cleaned up, Tepco only released partial photos of the fuel pool, never any photo of the whole fuel pool. So as of now it is just impossible to verify Tepco’s claim by counting the assemblies. Since the fuel pool also exploded some fuel assemblies must be missing. How many are gone how many remain is still a non answered question, especially as Tepco is not well known for being straightforward.
Will Tepco dare to start decommissioning the reactor 3 fuel pool before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics? I doubt so. In my opinion, Tepco will keep postponing it for after the Olympics, to avoid difficulties and critics.
Fuel removal unlikely by March 2018
A government official has suggested that fuel removal from a reactor at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will not start by March 2018, as planned.
566 nuclear fuel units remain in the No. 3 reactor’s fuel pool. To reach their target period, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company must begin placing a cover over the damaged reactor building by this April.
It’s now expected the cover installation will not start until January next year or later. It was determined that stronger measures are needed to protect workers from radiation exposure.
An official with the industry ministry overseeing reactor decommissioning inspected the plant on Monday. He said starting fuel removal within the next fiscal year is difficult.
Tokyo Electric says the cover installation has been slow, but the company will continue decommissioning work with safety as their highest priority.