Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the disaster-stricken Fukushima nuclear power facility, revealed on April 7 that the decommissioning and cleanup at the plant will generate a massive 560,000 cubic meters of radiation-contaminated debris by fiscal 2027 – a volume that would fill half the Tokyo Dome, and then some. This fact was discussed by TEPCO with the Japanese central government in a meeting recently, opening the issue of how the irradiated rubble will be disposed.
TEPCO said that it is looking to recycle materials of with very low contamination levels, but the problem is still having enough storage space to accommodate 160,000 cubic meters of debris. The amount of contaminated rubble and debris is expected to more than double by 2027 – this is due to large portions of concrete generated from explosions of reactor buildings. These concrete slabs remain untouched as of today. Trees in and around the plant compound were already cleared to make space for the storage tanks that house the ever-increasing volume of contaminated water from the decommissioning of the molten down reactors.
The embattled plant operator also plans to scrap water storage tanks that are no longer in use, including metals that have low contamination levels. These, together with the concrete rubble can be used as materials for roadbeds in and around the plant compound. By 2027, TEPCO said that it will have begun one of the most critical and dangerous tasks in the decommissioning process, which is to remove the melted nuclear fuel from inside the reactors.
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