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Japan-Update

Inside a meltdown-hit Fukushima reactor building

Seven years on, Tepco aims to pull fuel out of Unit 3's rubble-strewn pool

A crane and dome-shaped roof have been erected on the top floor of Fukushima Daiichi's No. 3 building, in preparation for removing rods and rubble from the spent fuel pool. (Photo by Shinya Sawai)

FUKUSHIMA, Japan -- As the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster unfolded in March 2011, a hydrogen explosion ripped through the No. 3 reactor unit. Nearly seven years on, steel framing and other debris still litter the spent fuel pool, along with 566 fuel rods.

The painstaking process of removing the rods is expected to begin sometime in the fiscal year that starts in April. The fuel extraction will be a first for reactor Nos. 1-3 at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings facility, which was crippled by the earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan.

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