Fuel debris removal to begin at Fukushima Daiichi unit 2

6 December 2019

Fukushima_Daiichi_TEPCOJapan’s government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) have released a draft plan to revise the road map for decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

It states that work to remove nuclear fuel debris will begin at the unit 2 reactor. Removal of the debris, which is a mixture of melted nuclear fuel and materials inside the nuclear reactors,  is scheduled to start by the end of 2021.

The government and the company will ask local governments and experts for their opinions on the draft plan and the government will decide on the revision  later this year. The road map, formulated in December 2011, has been periodically reviewed by the government and other relevant entities based on the progress of the work. This is the fifth revision since September 2017.

The latest draft plan was presented to a meeting of the decommissioning and contaminated water task force. The plan to remove debris from unit 2 is based on a strategic plan of the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation, which provides technical advice to the government.

The draft plan maintains the previous policy of completing it "in 30 years to 40 years," and dividing the process into three phases. The third phase will start in 2021, when the planned removal of the debris begins. The government stipulated that the work would be done in the first ten years of the third phase and would be completed by the end of 2031.

Removal of nuclear fuel stored in used fuel pools  in all the  reactor buildings (units 1-6) will be completed by the end of 2031, according to the roadmap. The process has been completed unit 4 and work began at unit 3 in April.

The draft plan includes measures to prevent dust containing radioactive materials from scattering. Measures being considered to safeguard nearby areas, include the installation of a large cover over the unit 1 reactor building.


Photo: Inside the primary containment vessel at Fukushima Daiichi unit 2 (Credit: Tepco)



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