A smoking power cord brought the fire department to Fukushima Daiichi's common spent fuel facility Thursday, while Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it will pursue ocean disposal of treated water from the plant.

Recent developments related to TEPCO's reactors blacked out following Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami include:

Smoke Reported in Spent Fuel Storage Building

Fukushima common spent fuel pool decontamination equipment. Source: TEPCOAt 10:46 a.m., Thursday, an alarm sounded and a worker saw smoke coming from a spent fuel storage building at Fukushima. According to a TEPCO release, an auxiliary power cable for floor polishing equipment used in decontamination work began smoking, then stopped when it was unplugged a few minutes later. The fire department arrived and confirmed the fire was out. Its cause is under investigation.

According to the American Nuclear Society, the common spent fuel pool is in a standalone building near unit 4 and stores 6,375 fuel assemblies representing 60 percent of the spent fuel at the plant. Before storage in the common pool, the assemblies were allowed to cool for a significant period of time in individual units' SFPs.

TEPCO Proposes Ocean Disposal of Treated Water

TEPCO officials said Thursday that they will seek permission to dump treated water that meets legal limits for radioactive contamination into the ocean, Kyodo reported. The move would require multiple government approvals to go forward. TEPCO has warned that disposal of treated water is necessary, as the utility is running out of places to store thousands of tons of contaminated water at the site. Some of it, exposed to damaged reactor cores, is highly radioactive before being run through decontamination systems and reuse at the plant. But TEPCO must also contend with huge volumes of less-contaminated water from tsunami flooding, groundwater infiltration and leaks in damaged roofs.

Photo: Equipment identified as the source of smoke in the common spent fuel facility. Source: TEPCO