TOKYO (AP) — The operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear energy plant mentioned Thursday it’s additional suspending the beginning of the elimination of extremely radioactive melted gasoline from its broken reactors due to delays within the growth of a remote-controlled robotic arm.
Tokyo Electrical Energy Firm Holdings had initially deliberate to start eradicating melted gasoline from the Unit 2 reactor on the Fukushima Daiichi plant final yr, 10 years after the catastrophe triggered by a large earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
That plan was postponed till later this yr, and now can be delayed additional till about autumn subsequent yr due to further work wanted to enhance the efficiency of the robotic arm, TEPCO mentioned.
The large arm, collectively developed by Veolia Nuclear Options of Britain and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has been transported to Japan and is being adjusted at a testing facility south of the Fukushima plant.
The delay gained’t have an effect on the general decommissioning on the plant, which is predicted to take 30-40 years, TEPCO mentioned. Consultants have mentioned the completion goal is simply too optimistic.
Throughout the accident, an estimated 880 tons of extremely radioactive nuclear gasoline within the three broken reactors melted and fell to the underside of their major containment vessels, the place it hardened, more than likely combined with damaged elements of the reactor and the concrete basis. Its elimination is by far the hardest problem of the decommissioning course of.
TEPCO has made progress in assessing the situation of the gasoline within the reactors lately by sending remote-controlled robots inside the first containment vessels. However knowledge and pictures offered by the probes are nonetheless partial, and consultants say it’s too early to think about when or how the cleanup will finish.
The persevering with want to chill the gasoline remaining within the reactors has resulted in large quantities of handled however nonetheless radioactive used cooling water that’s being saved in about 1,000 tanks on the grounds of the plant.
The federal government has introduced a plan to begin releasing the saved water into the ocean after additional remedy and dilution within the spring of 2023, a plan that has been fiercely opposed by native residents, the fishing neighborhood and neighboring nations.