10 Novembre 2016
November 10, 2016
By KOHEI TOMIDA/ Staff Writer
The No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is completely exposed for the first time in five years after the last of the temporary protective covers for the crippled structure was removed Nov. 10.
The next step will be to extract nuclear fuel inside the reactor building, which was wrecked by a hydrogen explosion in the early stages of the March 2011 nuclear disaster.
The covers were installed the following October as a temporary measure against the spread of radioactive substances after the triple meltdown triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
A large crane lifted off the 20-ton cover, the last of the 18 panels installed, around 6 a.m. on Nov. 10.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. began removing the covers one by one in September.
The 392 fuel assemblies are stored in the spent nuclear fuel pool inside the building. Melted fuel also remains inside the reactor.
TEPCO will assess the state of the reactor building’s interior in efforts to remove debris from the collapse of a roof over the spent nuclear fuel pool.
It will take precautions to prevent dust containing radioactive substances from being stirred up by shrouding the reactor building with tarpaulins.