Removal of spent nuclear fuel postponed again

Removal of spent nuclear fuel postponed again

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has again postponed work to remove spent nuclear fuel from a storage pool at its No.3 reactor.

566 fuel units remain in the cooling pool of the reactor, which suffered a meltdown in 2011. Removing the fuel is a key step in the plant's decommissioning plan.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, was planning to start removal work at the end of this month, after being forced to delay its previous plan to do so by last November. The delay resulted from problems with a fuel lifting unit and other equipment.

Another equipment glitch in February led to the latest postponement. TEPCO now plans to start the work in April or later.
The plant's No.1 and 2 reactors also suffered meltdowns in the 2011 nuclear accident. Preparing for spent fuel removal at the No.3 reactor has been going ahead faster than at the other two.

But even at the No. 3 reactor, the start of removal work is more than four years behind the initial plan set at the end of 2014.