November 18th 2013, Tepco has posted a new press release on their website stating that the 1533 sets of fuel rods in the reactor 4 fuel pool is in the process of having them removed to a cask and then to safe storage. Read more below.(Text from the tepco website)
Work progressing on schedule following thorough safety preparations with cooperation of many partner companies and individual workers
Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 18, 2013-TEPCO announced today that they have started the fuel removal from the Unit 4 spent fuel pool at Fukushima Daiichi NPS. The start of fuel removal from the pool marks an important milestone in the decommissioning work at the site. The extraction work started at 3:18PM and the first fuel completed its extraction from the fuel rack to the cask placed inside the pool at 3:57PM as planned, following thorough safety preparations with the cooperation of many partner companies and individual workers.
Preparation work started from 9:50AM. The cask to carry the fuel was placed into the spent fuel pool and reached the bottom of the pool at 12:30PM. 22 unused fuels will be moved to the cask a task which is planned to be completed by November 19. After being filled with fuel, the cask will be closed with a lid, and following decontamination, will be taken down to ground level and transported to the common spent fuel pool on a trailer. It is planned to take approximately one week from placing the fuel into the cask at the spent fuel pool to storing it in the common pool. The entire removal of all fuel inside the Unit 4 spent fuel pool is planned to take until the end of 2014.
President Hirose commented that this task is “an important milestone in our work at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.” Explaining the three main decommissioning tasks at the site – extraction of spent fuel, removal of fuel debris, and the ultimate decommissioning of the facility – he announced that today’s “extraction process represents the beginning of a new and important chapter in our work.” He also expressed his gratitude towards the employees and workers from partner companies “who have worked so hard, with such ingenuity, diligence, and courage, to make possible this achievement.”
President Hirose’s comments (please click the top link):
Photos of placing the cask into the spent fuel pool (Japanese website):
The encompassing safety measures towards the assumable risks of the task:
http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2013/images/handouts_131115_03-e.pdf (PDF 48.4KB)
Third party reviews (comments from experts and the actions taken):
http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2013/images/handouts_131115_04-e.pdf (PDF 58.7KB)
Photos of the expert previews and preparation work:
http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2013/images/handouts_131115_05-e.pdf (PDF 246KB)
TEPCO, Inc. is a provider of electricity to the Kanto region, which includes Tokyo and Yokohama. The company is headquartered in Tokyo. For more information, please go to http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/index-e.html.