Rubble storage at Fukushima plant shown to media

Rubble storage at Fukushima plant shown to media

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has completed a facility to store radioactive rubble from the March 2011 accident.

Tokyo Electric Power Company showed the new storage facility in the compound to the media on Thursday.

The Number 1 to Number 3 reactors suffered meltdowns and the reactor buildings were badly damaged after a quake-triggered tsunami hit the plant on March 11th, 2011.

As part of decommissioning work, rubble scattered after the accident needs to be cleared before spent nuclear fuel can be removed from storage pools in the upper parts of the reactor buildings.

At the Number 1 reactor building, work to clear more than 1,500 tons of rubble began in January. Its pool stores 392 fuel units.

The newly-completed facility is capable of storing more than 60,000 cubic meters of rubble.

Officials say a special vehicle that blocks radiation will take rubble from the Number 1 reactor building to the storage facility, and remote-controlled forklifts will be used to carry the rubble inside it.

The storage facility is 2 stories above ground and 2 below. The more radioactive the debris, the deeper underground it will be stored.

Officials say the facility can block radiation of levels up to 10 sieverts per hour, as it is covered by concrete walls up to 65 centimeters thick.

Kazuteru Ofuchi, a TEPCO official in charge of waste disposal, says the firm will make sure to minimize workers' exposure to radiation, by working remotely.