Tepco hope for breakthrough in nuclear clean-up

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) believes it may have made a breakthrough in the clean-up of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The company have released still images showing what they believe to be nuclear fuel rods from the number 2 reactor, one of three that had meltdowns after the 2011 disaster in Japan.
The company has not yet been able to confirm if the debris consists of the uranium rods but if so it will enable the plant operator to remove the melted fuel. It is set to release the results of its analysis later today (Monday).

Tepco has made some progress, such as removing hundreds of spent fuel rods in one of the damaged buildings. But it has failed to establish the location of the melted fuel rods in the other three damaged reactors at the plant.

The use of underwater robots failed when reaching proximity to the reactors, due to being destroyed by radiation.

In December, Japan's government nearly doubled its projections for costs related to the Fukushima nuclear disaster to $188bn, increasing pressure on Tepco to step up reforms and improve its performance.

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