An unused fuel rod from the unit 6 reactor was damaged in late November according to TEPCO’s most recent roadmap report.
The unused fuel assembly was being decontaminated after being disassembled. This work was intended to be part of a process to remove unused fuel assembles for long term storage. It is assumed the unused fuel assemblies were being stored in the spent fuel pool. This would require decontamination to remove any residual contamination from being in the pool.
TEPCO removed these assemblies from the pool, took the individual fuel rods out, inserted them into a decontamination machine before the assemblies were re-assembled for eventual long term storage.
A fuel rod was improperly inserted into the machine causing it to become trapped between moving parts and stationary parts of the machine. This bent the rod like a wire clothes hanger.
TEPCO claims the fuel rod was not broken open and radiation levels on the surface had not increased. Now they have to figure out how to remove and store this fuel rod. TEPCO cited that they would review the work process to try to prevent a future occurrence.
A translated version of the report can be found here
The original in Japanese here
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