Fukushima update: Removal of spent nuclear fuel at Fukushima No. 1 delayed up to five years (again)

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The government decided Friday to delay the removal of spent fuel from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant’s Nos. 1 and 2 reactors by up to five years, casting doubt on whether it can stick to its time frame for dismantling the crippled complex.

The process of removing the spent fuel from the units’ pools had previously been scheduled to begin in fiscal 2023.

In its latest decommissioning plan, the government said the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., will not begin the roughly two-year process at the No. 1 unit at least until fiscal 2027 and may wait until fiscal 2028.

Work at the No. 2 unit is now slated to start between fiscal 2024 and fiscal 2026, it said.

The delay is necessary to take further safety precautions, such as the construction of an enclosure around the No. 1 unit to prevent the spread of radioactive dust and the decontamination of the No. 2 unit, the government said. It is the fourth time it has revised its schedule for removing the spent fuel rods.

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