All About Japan

Nuclear Fuel from Fukushima Daiichi #3 Removed

Fukushima Tohoku Pacific Coast

Tokyo Electric Power Company finished the removal of 566 nuclear fuel rods from the No. 3 reactor at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on February 28.

The unused and spent fuel units were relocated remotely due to high radiation levels in the reactor. Units number 1, 2 and 3 suffered meltdowns following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in 2011. A hydrogen explosion occurred inside reactor number 4, but not a meltdown. All of the 1,535 fuel assemblies at reactor number 4 were removed in December 2014.

Removal of the fuel rods is an essential part of the decommissioning process, which is said to take 30 to 40 years. 1,700 fuel units remain in the first and second reactor. TEPCO plans to begin transporting the units from the two reactors as early as fiscal 2027 and 2024, respectively.