First step taken in Fukushima nuclear decommissioning project

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear decommissioning project takes first step

The decommissioning project at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan begins a crucial stage as workers begin to dismantle protective covers from one of the reactors.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) installed six, 136-foot covers over one of the reactors that melted down in order to keep radioactive materials from escaping, according to NBC News. They also poured chemicals over the top of the roof to prevent the spread of contaminated dust and particles. Three of the six units at the plant melted down following an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

TEPCO workers began to remove the first of these covers, which must be done before the 292 spent fuel rods inside could be removed, the article said. The covers are scheduled for removal by the end of 2016, and fuel rods may be moved by 2020.

Decommissioning is expected to take 30 years and cost billions of dollars.

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