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Three Mile Island Veteran Optimistic on Fukushima Fuel Removal

      

Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato, in the orange helmet, inspects the contaminated water tanks at Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant at Okuma town in Fukushima prefecture on Oct. 15, 2013. Photograph: JIJI Press-Pool/AFP via Getty Images

bloomberg.com - by Jacob Adelman - October 17, 2013

The first removal of nuclear fuel rods next month from the stricken Fukushima atomic station should be successful based on findings that the rods -- each about twice the average weight of a sumo wrestler -- appear undamaged from an explosion at the site almost three years ago.

That’s the view of Lake Barrett, a former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission official appointed last month as an adviser to Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501), the operator of the wrecked Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.

“There’s no indication based on sampling of the water that the fuel has been damaged in any significant way” according to radiation readings, said Barrett, who led Three Mile Island’s cleanup operations for four years after the 1979 accident at that plant in the U.S. “There’s a high confidence that the defueling of the pool can go in a normal way.”

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