Japan approves fuel removal from pool at Fukushima nuke plant

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Japan approves fuel removal from pool at Fukushima nuke plant

A Japan Nuclear Regulation Authority officer stands near a pipe by which workers at the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima were accidentally doused with radioactive water (AP)

Tokyo:  Japanese regulators have given a final approval for a plan to remove fuel rods from an uncontained cooling pool at a damaged reactor building in Fukushima which is considered as the highest risk at the crippled nuclear plant.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority said at its regular meeting Wednesday the proposal by the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., is deemed appropriate and the removal at Unit 4's top floor can start in November as planned.

Unit 4 reactor was offline when Fukushima Dai-ichi suffered meltdowns following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The building was damaged by hydrogen explosions and fire.

TEPCO has reinforced the structure and says the building can survive a major quake, but the unit's unenclosed pool containing 1,533 fuel rods has caused international concern.

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