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Tepco Says The Fukushima Cleanup ‘Is Progressing’, But at a Painstaking Pace

Last July 2017 Tepco’s remotely piloted robots transmitted view of what could be melted radioactive fuel inside Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant’s destroyed reactors — actually Tepco wants to believe that it is melted radioactive fuel but has not been able to get it confirmed since then.
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The Fukushima Cleanup Is Progressing, But at a Painstaking Pace
Earlier this year, remotely piloted robots transmitted what officials believe was a direct view of melted radioactive fuel inside Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant’s destroyed reactors—a major discovery, but one that took a long and painful six years to achieve. In the meantime, the program to clean up the destroyed reactors has seen numerous setbacks and concerns, including delays on Japanese electrical utility Tepco’s timetable to begin removing the highly radioactive fuel and continued leakage of small amounts of radioactive substances.
Japanese officials are now hoping that they can convince a skeptical public that the worst of the disaster is over, the New York Times reported, but it’s not clear whether it’s too late despite the deployment of 7,000 workers and massive resources to return the region to something approaching normal. Per the Times, officials admit the recovery plan—involving the complete destruction of the plant, rather than simply building a concrete sarcophagus around it as the Russians did in Chernobyl—will take decades and tens of billions of dollars. Currently, Tepco plans to begin removing waste from one of the three contaminated reactors at the plant by 2021, “though they have yet to choose which one.”
“Until now, we didn’t know exactly where the fuel was, or what it looked like,” Tepco manager Takahiro Kimoto told the Times. “Now that we have seen it, we can make plans to retrieve it.”
“They are being very methodical—too slow, some would say—in making a careful effort to avoid any missteps or nasty surprises,” Union of Concerned Scientists nuclear safety director David Lochbaum added. “They want to regain trust. They have learned that trust can be lost much quicker than it can be recovered.”
Currently, radiation levels are so high in the ruined facility that it fries robots sent in within a matter of hours, which will necessitate developing a new generation of droids with even higher radiation significantly smaller, but less safe containment than industry standard” that safety experts repeatedly raised concerns about, the lawsuit said.
GE designed all six reactors at Fukushima — building two on site and advising on the construction of the rest. Original designs for the power plant called for it to be built near a bluff 115 feet above sea level. But GE — to save money — lowered the bluff to 80 feet, court papers say, “dramatically increasing the flood risk.”
Backup systems in the event of a problem at the nuclear plant were also woefully lacking, causing the cooling system to fail, the suit states. ge_sued_for_fukushima_disaster tolerances. Authorities have built a crane on the roof of one melted-down reactor, unit No. 3, to remove fuel, Phys.org reported, though it will not actually be in use until at least April 2018. Disposal of low level waste such as “rice straw, sludge and ash from waste incineration” has only just begun, the Japan Times wrote. The eventual disposal of more dangerous waste will be much more difficult.
At the same time, criticism of the government’s approach is also mounting with concerns it is pressuring residents to return to an area where radiation exposure remains many times the international standard.
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November 23, 2017 - Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | ,

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