Workers have removed the first two fuel assemblies from the Fukushima Daiichi unit 4 spent fuel storage pool.

Cleaning fuel assembly lifted out of U4 spent fuel pool

Cleaning fuel assembly lifted out of U4 spent fuel pool

A mobile crane lifted on to the deck of the unit four building raised two fresh fuel assemblies vertically out of the pool. Workers washed the assemblies, covered in black channel boxes, as they rose, to reduce radioactive dose. No substantial visual damage was found. Then they were transported to the Fukushima Daiichi common fuel pool in a transport cask.

The unit 4 spent fuel pool is the most full of all units; it has 204 fresh fuel bundles and 1331 spent fuel bundles. Full-scale fuel removal work is planned to start from next year. A spent fuel pool cover, fuel handling machine and crane are currently being built. Detailed investigations of the common spent fuel pond are due to start in August 2012.

In other news, workers have completed the cementation of the Fukushima Daiichi intake canal seabed, covering a total of 72,600 sq m to a depth of about 50cm.

As of early July, airborne radiation levels near unit 1 remain high: 220 microSv/hr, according to a temporary monitoring post at the main administrative building south. Farther away at the main gate, radiation stood at about 20 microSv/hr.

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