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TEPCO Gets Ready to Dismantle Cover Over Damaged Fukushima Reactor

© AP Photo / Koji Sasahara, PoolA staff member of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)
A staff member of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) - Sputnik International
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Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) on Friday began preparatory work to dismantle the protective cover over the Reactor 1 building at the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant, the company announced.

A part of the roof of a building covering the Unit 1 reactor, left, is seen removed at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014 - Sputnik International
Situation at Fukushima Site Remains Complex Despite Progress in Clean-up
TOKYO (Sputnik) The preparations started with the pouring of anti-dispersal agents through holes in the cover’s roof to prevent radioactive dust escaping into the surrounding environment during the dismantling process. The agents will harden within 24 hours, blocking the spread of radiation.

TEPCO said that it hopes to start the actual removal of the cover, which was installed by the company in 2011 to mitigate the damage done to the plant, in a week.

The overall dismantling process is expected to take about a year and will be followed by a cleanup of the wreckage and waste left inside the unit since the hydrogen blast. TEPCO expects that in 2019 it will start the extraction of nuclear fuel assemblies from the spent fuel pools.

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was severely damaged in March 2011 after being hit by a 46-foot tsunami triggered by a massive offshore earthquake. Some of the reactors’ coolant systems failed, precipitating multiple hydrogen-air chemical explosions. Three of the six reactors went into meltdown, resulting in the release of radiation into the atmosphere, soil and sea.

TEPCO had previously sought to start the preparations for the dismantling by March 2014 but these plans were postponed due to equipment problems.

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