The spent fuel pool in the upper part of each reactor building stores fuel rod assemblies that have been used to generate electric power. To reduce the risk from these spent fuel rods, the actual removal of the fuel from the accident-hit reactor buildings, or preparations therefor, are being carried out.

What Are Spent Fuel Rods?

Fuel rods that have been used to generate electric power in a nuclear reactor are replaced with new fuel after they are no longer usable. The replaced fuel rods are spent fuel. Since the spent fuel rods continue to generate heat, they are cooled for stable storage.

Status of Fuel Removal in Each Unit

Unit 1 Status

Survey of internal state
 

Removal of rubble
 

Installation of
a fuel handling facility

Removal of fuel
 

Completed
 

At Unit 1, removal of rubble from the center portion on the north side of the operating floor, at the upper part of the reactor building, was begun in January 2018.
Plans call next for installing a large cover over the entire reactor building, and under this cover, removing rubble from the south side of the operating floor, and removing the overhead crane and fuel handling equipment.

Unit 2 Status

 
Survey of internal state
 

South side of reactor building
Construction of a fuel handling facility
(access gantry+front chamber)

Installation of
a fuel handling facility
 

Removal
of fuel
 


Completed
 

Unit 2

A fuel handling facility (access gantry+front chamber) is being constructed on the south side of the reactor building in preparation for removal of spent fuel from Unit 2.

Unit 3 Status

Survey of internal state
 

Removal of rubble
 

Installation of
a fuel handling facility

Removal
of fuel

Completed
 

Removal of fuel rod assemblies from Unit 3 was begun in April 2019. Work is proceeding with safety as the top priority.

Unit 4 Status

Survey of internal state
 

Removal of rubble
 

Installation of
a fuel handling facility

Removal
of fuel

Completed
 

Unit 4

Removal of all fuel assemblies from Unit 4 was completed in December 2014.

The status of progress on the mid- to long-term roadmap (decommissioning and contaminated water measures team meetings/secretariat conferences) is updated in monthly progress reports and other materials.
See the “Spent fuel pool measures” materials here for details.

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