Fukushima plant operator begins to remove fuel from molten reactor


For the first time, the operator of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant removes fuel from a cooling pool by one of three reactors melting down in the 2011 disaster, a milestone in the decade-long process of declining the plant.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Monday's workers began removing the first of the 566 fuel assemblies stored in the pool on unit 3. The pool's fuel assemblies are not attached and removal to safer grounds is essential to avoid disaster in the event of another major earthquake.

TEPCO says the removal at unit 3 will take two years followed by the other two reactors.

The step ahead is the real challenge of removing molten fuel from inside the reactors, but details are largely unknown.

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