Asahi Shimbun is reporting that work has begun to remove the cover from Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1. The cover has been in place since early in 2011 to prevent the release of radioactive substances and contaminated dust. The cover must be removed before work can begin to remove the collapsed roof structure and clean debris off of the refueling floor. This work has been highly problematic due to concerns the dust and fine debris on the refueling floor could blow offsite causing widespread contamination as happened when they cleaned off unit 3.
Unit 1 will eventually have a defueling building placed over the existing reactor building similar to what was done with unit 4.
The debris removal phase may be the most difficult of this work. Water spray systems have been installed along with use of dust inhibitors but strong winds near the coast may still complicate the work. The current dust and radiation monitoring systems at the plant missed the unit 3 dust contamination that blew as far away as Miyagi Prefecture. No new monitoring systems have been added since that incident.
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