TEPCO to start installing cover over No. 1 reactor on June 27
BY HIDENORI TSUBOYA STAFF WRITER
A model of the cover to be installed over the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant's No. 1 reactor building is shown June 14 by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant operator. (Kengo Hiyoshi)A model of the cover to be installed over the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant's No. 1 reactor building is shown June 14 by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant operator. (Kengo Hiyoshi)
Tokyo Electric Power Co. on June 27 will begin installing via remote control a temporary cover over the No. 1 reactor building at its troubled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the utility said June 14.
TEPCO showed a model of the cover, which is intended to prevent radioactive materials from entering the atmosphere from the No. 1 reactor, whose walls and roof were destroyed in a March 12 hydrogen explosion.
TEPCO hopes to complete the installation by the end of September.
The cover, which is 47 meters long, 42 meters wide and 54 meters high, consists of polyester fiber panels coated with resin that are to be set in a steel frame.
TEPCO plans to encase the whole reactor building in a concrete building within a few years.
The utility has yet to determine how much the covering will reduce radioactive emissions.
To minimize worker exposure to radiation, the structure will be assembled remotely using a crane, with no worker entering the site.
Only 62 parts will be used, as compared to hundreds or thousands typically used in similar work.
The structure will have interlocking slotted joints similar to the type used to fit together wood beams in Japanese architectural structures, instead of bolts.
The roof will be removable to give cranes access for work to be done inside the reactor building.
Preparations, including assembly of a crane on the site, began June 12. TEPCO also plans to install similar covers over the No. 3 and No. 4 reactor buildings, which were also hit by explosions, with preparations starting in late June.