Japan begins removal of nuclear fuel from damaged reactor
The operator of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant has begun removing nuclear fuel from one of the reactors that melted down after the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Remotely controlled equipment is lifting fuel rods from a storage pool inside reactor number three.
The delicate work at the contaminated site is expected to take two years.
The next phase of the huge clean-up in reactor three will be to remove molten nuclear fuel that remains deep inside.
A spokeswoman for the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) said the operation to remove the fuel had been delayed by earthquake debris inside the building as well as other technical issues.
Reactor buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant were damaged by hydrogen explosions caused by the earthquake and tsunami. Three reactors melted down.
In the latest operation, more than 500 radioactive cylinders have to be placed in container casks which are then lifted from the flooded compartment and transported by lorry to another pool of water for storage.
Radioactive gases could be released if the cylinders break or are exposed to air. (BBC)