TOKYO: Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. will delay the start from this year to the second half of fiscal 2023 of the removal of melted nuclear fuel debris from the No. 2 reactor at its disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, company officials said Thursday.
It is the second time for the company to postpone the start of the debris removal. The delay will not affect the entire schedule for the decommissioning of the plant in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, which suffered a triple-meltdown accident due to the March 2011 tsunami and earthquake, according to the officials.
TEPCO initially planned to start the debris removal on a trial basis in 2021. But it postponed the start to 2022, citing a delay in preparations due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The second postponement comes after the company found it necessary to improve a robot arm for the removal as a result of a test of the robot arm conducted from February this year.
“We need to proceed extremely carefully as we cannot overlook safety risks,” TEPCO Chief Decommissioning Officer Akira Ono told a press conference.