TEPCO outlines plan for defuelling damaged Fukushima Daiichi units

13 September 2011

At a meeting on August 31 of an advisory committee to discuss measures to be taken over the medium- and long-term for the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station at Japan’s Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), TEPCO announced its vision about how to remove spent fuel rods from fuel storage pools at Units 1 through 4, and from the reactors, according to a report by the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum’s Atoms in Japan news service.

First, debris will be removed from the reactor building roofs, and covers will be built around the buildings. Overhead cranes and handling machines will also be installed, and transport containers manufactured, the report said.

Second, TEPCO will identify primary containment vessel and reactor building leaks with manual and remotely controlled dosimeters, cameras, and other detectors. Then those leaks will be repaired. Initial work will focus on lower sections, and then move upwards. Distribution of damaged fuel will be measured. Then, reactor closure heads will be removed, the reactor internals will be examined, and the fuel will be taken out, the report said.

The work will proceed step-by-step, with feasibility for the next stage determined by on on-site investigations and technological developments, the report said.

At the meeting, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) presented items requiring R&D by Toshiba Corporation, Hitachi GE and JAEA itself, including:

-remote-control decontamination of high-radiation areas, such as reactor building interiors

-remote-control investigation of PCV and reactor pressure vessel (RPV) interior

-fuel debris sampling technology

-technology to plug PCV water leaks while circulating cooling water

-remote-control cutting to remove fuel rod debris

-remote-control transfer technology

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