Plans Offered to Scrap Fukushima Plant

Monday, April 11, 2011 @ 01:04 PM gHale

While attempts to stabilize the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant continue, Toshiba Corp. submitted a proposal to Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to dismantle the damaged facility by 2020.

The proposal drawn up jointly by Toshiba’s Westinghouse Electric Co., Babcock & Wilcox Co. and Shaw Group Inc. came from the companies that cleaned the damaged reactor at the Three Mile Island nuclear facility in Pennsylvania.

Toshiba and its partners plan to revise the proposal as the situation unfolds, as conditions inside the reactors remain unclear.

The proposal calls for demolishing damaged buildings at the facility without causing any secondary fallout, monitoring radiation levels and removing debris using robots.

The plan predicts engineers will be able to stabilize the reactors in several months and will be able to move ahead on multiple tasks simultaneously. Fuel removal could begin late this year while they would clear radioactive debris and less contaminated equipment outside the reactors demolished.

That’s a faster timetable than Three Mile Island, where fuel removal began six years after the accident and took another six years to complete.

A final decommissioning of the four reactors may depend on whether the operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., keeps Units 5 and 6 running. At Three Mile Island, nuclear fuel from the damaged Unit 2 reactor shipped off to Idaho where the contaminated water evaporated. But they cannot fully dismantle and decommission the unit until its adjacent Unit 1 shuts down in 2034.

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