N-fuel removal from Fukushima power plant postponed

Tokyo, Oct 30 (IANS/EFE): The Japanese government and the operator of the crippled Fukushima power plant have decided to postpone for five years the removal of molten nuclear fuel from reactor-1, originally planned for 2020.

The uranium rods which were originally scheduled to be removed in 2017 will now be taken out in 2019, and the withdrawal process of the molten nuclear fuel will start in 2025, sources told the NHK channel.

The change in plans is in response to a slowdown in the operations due to safety concerns over the spread of possible radioactive dust during the removal of the polyester cover of reactor-1 and contaminated debris around the building.

Authorities detected the presence of radioactive material in nearby paddy fields in July, apparently due to the dust that flew during the removal of debris of reactor-3.

These delays are not expected to affect the plant's dismantling process, which is to be concluded around 2040.

In 2011, an earthquake and a tsunami hit the nuclear power station leaving reactors 1,2 and 3 without refrigeration and leading to partial fusion reactions.

The Fukushima accident was the worst since that of Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986, that forced the evacuation of thousands of people from the area and seriously affected agriculture, fisheries and local livestock.


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Title: N-fuel removal from Fukushima power plant postponed

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