Tepco Delays Fukushima Chimney Demolition


TEPCO delays Fukushima chimney demolition

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says it is having difficulties reducing the height of a damaged exhaust chimney and will extend the deadline to finish the work.

The 120-meter tall exhaust stack shared by the No.1 and No.2 reactors was heavily contaminated by radioactive substances in the 2011 accident. Its steel framework was damaged by the accident.

Tokyo Electric Power Company has been working since August to halve the chimney's height to around 60 meters to reduce the risk of collapse, but has so far only cut about nine meters.

The company says a cutter developed for the project has run into a series of problems. It says the blade of the remotely-controlled device has worn down faster than expected and become stuck.

TEPCO has suspended the demolition, and is reviewing its cutting methods and procedures. The utility says it will submit an improved plan to the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

The firm says it hopes to restart the work by the end of this month and will reschedule completion of the project from the end of March next year to mid-May.