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Japan delays nuclear fuel removal schedule for Fukushima plant

Friday, June 12, 2015 - 08:29
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A photo by Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) on April 10, 2015, shows an image from a remote control robot inside the reactor vessel at Tepco's Fukushima nuclear power plant at Okuma in Fukushima prefecture.

[TOKYO] Japan will delay removal of dangerous spent uranium fuel rods from the wrecked Fukushima power station, another setback in Tokyo Electric Power Co's struggle to contain the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

The Japanese government said on Friday it approved a revised "roadmap" for decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi station, which was wrecked when an earthquake and tsunami triggered multiple meltdowns in March 2011.

The revision means delaying the start of work to remove spent nuclear fuel in cooling ponds in three reactors by as long as three years.

This marks the second revision of the roadmap after it was last revised in June 2013. The government did not make changes to the overall goal to complete the decommissioning work in 30 to 40 years.

The delay in fuel removal from the cooling pool to 2017 or later came as the utility known as Tepco is struggling to carry out the work to reduce high radiation levels.

REUTERS