A further postponement has been announced to plans for the removal of used nuclear fuel from Tokyo Electric Power Co's (Tepco’s) Fukushima Daiichi NPP preparation, the Nikkei business daily reported on 26 January, with Tepco citing delays in preparation.

Work is now set to begin in fiscal 2018 at the earliest, the Nikkei said. Removal of the fuel from unit 3 was originally scheduled in the first half of fiscal 2015, and later revised to fiscal 2017 because of the high levels of radioactivity around the facilities. The timeline has been changed again as it was taking longer than expected to decontaminate buildings and clean up debris.

The Japanese government said in October that the cost of cleaning up the Fukushima plant may increase to several billion dollars a year, adding that it would look into a possible separation of the nuclear business from the utility.