Original story Kyodo news, December 20 2014
Tepco said Saturday it has finished removing all fuel rods from the spent-fuel pool in the shattered reactor 4 building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, in a rare piece of positive news from the decommissioning process.
A total of 1,535 fuel rod assemblies, comprising 1,331 deemed at risk and 204 that were unused, have been transferred to other buildings following a yearlong process by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the beleaguered operator of the wrecked plant.
According to Tepco, this will reduce the risk of the spent fuel rods being exposed in the event of a new earthquake or a major accident.
“Completion of the removal work is a milestone and I feel deeply about it,” plant chief Akira Ono told reporters, while stressing that the decommissioning of Fukushima No. 1 remains an extremely lengthy process.
The overall cleanup and dismantling of the plant, an operation that is expected to take decades, has been delayed by a relentless on-site buildup of toxic radioactive water.