Nuclear fuel being lifted by a fuel handling machine. A monitor screen shows a lot of small debris in the pool, at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, April 15, 2019.

February 26, 2021

 The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) stored the last six nuclear fuels in special containers in the spent fuel pool at the Unit 3 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on April 26. Although the work began in April 2019, it will be completed earlier than the target of the end of March 2021. A total of 566 nuclear fuels, 514 spent and 52 unused, were stored in the pool. (Shinichi Ogawa)

This is the second reactor to have nuclear fuel removed from its spent fuel pool, following the Unit 4 reactor (1,535 nuclear fuels) which finished in December 2014. This is the first time for Units 1-3, which suffered a core meltdown (meltdown).

 The initial plan was to start removing the nuclear fuel from the Unit 3 reactor by the end of 2002, but the high radiation dose became a barrier to the work. A dome-shaped cover was installed on top of the building to prevent radioactive materials from spreading outside. TEPCO had indicated plans to start removing the radioactive materials in November 2006, but due to a series of problems with cranes and other equipment, the work was postponed for inspection and replacement of parts.

 According to the plan presented by the government and TEPCO, the removal of nuclear fuel from the pool is scheduled to start in FY2015-28 for Unit 1 (392 nuclear fuels) and in FY2012-26 for Unit 2 (615 nuclear fuels).