Fukushima Unit 2 Fuel Removal Exploration Begins Next Week

TEPCO announced they will begin work to explore the best method to remove spent fuel from unit 2. Since the radiation levels on the refueling floor are so high that workers can not enter they have devised an interesting method to work in the unit.

Robots will be sent into the building using the blow out panel access on the 5th floor. Periscope type cameras will be inserted through the roof to allow workers to see what is going on in the unit’s refueling floor.

newscope

U2_scope_refuelingfloor

TEPCO states some of this work will be to obtain “core samples” but based on the handout they appear to mean possibly obtaining samples of concrete to better understand the contamination problem rather than actually investigating the reactor core. Unit 2 has had considerable contamination leaving the refueling floor since the disaster. This caused TEPCO to put the blow out panel filter in place. Steam was seen leaving the reactor well under pressure as late as 2012.

Once TEPCO obtains samples and likely some other data they will determine what of the 3 plans will be implemented at unit 2 to remove the spent fuel and with the hopes of eventually removing what fuel might remain in the reactor vessel.

Plan 1: repair the refueling and overhead cranes to remove fuel
Plan 2: Remove the refueling floor walls, roof and cranes, install new walls and roof with new cranes.
Plan 3: Install a cover building with cranes similar to unit 4.

TEPCO Handout:
http://www.tepco.co.jp/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2014/images/handouts_140124_08-j.pdf

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