Fukushima Plant Begins Removing Fuel from Melted Reactor
The operator of Japan's Fukushima nuclear center has begun removing fuel from a reactor that melted down in a 2011 accident.
The Tokyo Electric Company, also known as TEPCO, said Monday it had successfully removed the first of more than 560 mostly used fuel units inside a pool in the reactor's Unit 3.
The operation marked the first time TEPCO has removed fuel from the highly polluted building containing the Unit 3 reactor. Workers are controlling removal equipment from a room away from the building because of high levels of radiation.
Unit 3 was one of three reactors at the Fukushima plant to suffer meltdowns after a 2011 earthquake and tsunami shut down the plant's cooling systems. It was the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. The accident forced 160,000 people to flee poisoned areas near the plant and many never returned.
The fuel units were not broken in the accident. But the pools that hold them sit about 18 meters above ground and are not fully contained. The units are being moved to safer ground to avoid a possible new disaster in case another major earthquake hits.
Fukushima's reactors four through six were not operating at the time so they did not melt down. However, Unit 4 was damaged by an explosion in the days after the tsunami. TEPCO finished removing all the nuclear fuel kept inside Unit 4's storage pool in December 2014.
Officials have said the current operations at Unit 3 are expected to be completed by March 2021. After that, TEPCO plans to continue with the removal of about 1000 nuclear fuel units from the storage pools of reactors one and two.
After those removals are completed, TEPCO will begin a much bigger effort – clearing melted fuel from inside the reactors. Many of the details of those operations remain largely unknown.
In 2016, the Japanese government estimated that total costs from the Fukushima disaster would reach $192 billion. The amount includes efforts to completely take apart the plant, clean affected areas and pay money to disaster victims.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
1.in case 万一
I have also taken out a life insurance policy on him just in case.
2.disaster victims 灾民
The Red Cross aids disaster victims right away.
3.take apart 拆除
If my computer stops working again, I will take apart it myself.
4.nuclear fuel 核燃料
When nuclear fuel is manufactured it is encased in metal cans
5.Unit 3 was one of three reactors at the Fukushima plant to suffer meltdowns after a 2011 earthquake and tsunami shut down the plant's cooling systems.
shut down 关闭
Smaller contractors had been forced to shut down.
It is required by law to shut down banks which it regards as chronically short of capital.
6.The operator of Japan's Fukushima nuclear center has begun removing fuel from a reactor that melted down in a 2011 accident.
melted down 熔化
They melted down the silver cups.
They melted down the lead and poured it into moulds.
这是东京电力公司首次从包含3号反应推的高度污染的建筑中移除燃料 。由于现场辐射值高，工人们在远离该建筑的操作室内遥控移除设备 。
2011年，地震和海啸导致该核电站的冷冻系统被关闭，福岛核电站的三座反应堆发生融毁，而3号反应堆是其中一个 。这是继1986年切尔诺贝利核事故后发生的最严重的核事故 。该事故迫使16万人逃离核电站附近的有毒区域，许多人再也没有回来 。
那次事故并没有毁坏燃料装置 。但是存放燃料装置的冷冻池位于地下18米的地方，而且没有完全密封 。为避免再次发生大地震酿成大祸，这些燃料棒被移除至安全地带 。
当时，福岛核电站的4至6号反应堆没有运行，因此没有发生熔毁 。然而，4号反应堆在海啸过后的几天内因爆炸损坏 。2014年12月，东京电力公司完成了4号反应堆储存池内所有核燃料的移除工作 。
官员表示，目前3号反应堆的移除工作预计将于2021年3月完成 。在那之后，东京电力公司计划继续移除1号和2号反应堆储存池中的大约1000个核燃料装置 。
这些移除工作完成后，东京电力公司将开启一项更大的工程——清除反应堆内熔化的燃料 。这项工程的很多细节在很大程度上仍是未知的 。
2016年，日本政府估计福岛事故的总损失将达到1920亿美元 。包括彻底拆除核电站，清理受灾地区，并向受灾民众支付赔偿金 。