In 2011, a harmful earthquake and tsunami triggered the meltdown of three reactors on the Fukushima Daiichi energy plant in Japan. Now, in a milestone for the efforts to decommission the plant, staff have begun eradicating gas from a cooling pool close to one among these three reactors.

The operator of the plant—Tokyo Electrical Energy Co. (Tepco)—stated on Monday that its staff had began the method of taking out 566 used and unused nuclear gas rods that are saved within the pool at reactor Unit 3, the Related Press reported.

The operation to take away the gas rods from Unit 3, is prone to take round two years, in accordance with Tepco, though the identical course of should be carried out for the opposite two reactor models.

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Happily, the gas rods weren’t broken by the 2011 incident—the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl—however the firm say that transferring them from their location in uncovered swimming pools inside the reactor buildings to safer floor is a vital step for stopping catastrophe within the occasion of one other main earthquake.

The work was meant to have begun round 5 years in the past, however was delayed attributable to a number of issues, such because the presence of radioactive particles.

To take away the rods, staff are utilizing a remotely operated crane from a management room situated round 1,640 ft away from the reactor constructing that homes the rods as a result of radiation ranges there stay excessive.

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In an operation that’s being carried out totally underwater to stop radiation leaks, staff are utilizing the crane to take the gas rods from their storage rack and inserting them in a protecting cask that may maintain seven models.

As soon as every of those protecting casks is full, they are going to be lifted out of the pool and brought to a different one within the plant that’s situated on safer floor.

The most recent strikes will not be prone to be the toughest a part of the decommissioning course of. It is because there may be nonetheless melted gas contained in the nuclear reactors themselves, which goes to be very difficult to take away. In reality, it’s presently not clear how this operation will likely be carried out, partially, as a result of not a lot is thought in regards to the melted gas—for instance, the place it’s situated precisely.

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Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japan This March 10, 2018, image exhibits the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy plant being lit up in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, on the eve of the seventh anniversary of the 2011 Nice East Japan earthquake. AFP/Getty Pictures

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