A remote inspection inside Fukushima Daiichi unit 1 this week showed that its walls appear to be structurally sound. Meanwhile, the Japanese government is reportedly setting aside money to create intermediate storage sites for radioactive waste generated during the cleanup of Fukushima Prefecture.Recent developments related to the Tokyo Electric Power Co. nuclear plant blacked out by Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami include:TEPCO Inspects Unit 1 as It Plans for Spent Fuel RemovalOn Wednesday and Thursday, nine workers set up a small tower to lift a remotely controlled camera inspecting a portion of unit 1's interior. According to a TEPCO release, the camera equipment was raised from the first floor into the second through fourth floors, where high radiation prevents manual inspections. The images showed no significant damage to walls that support the building in those areas, which will be factored into future seismic evaluations. The inspection took place as TEPCO considers whether to fully encase the unit, attach a cover to its top floor or cover only a portion of the top floor as it prepares to start spent fuel removal in 2017.Government Budgets for Intermediate Waste StorageThe Asahi Shimbun reported Wednesday that the Japanese government's proposed 2014 budget will include $970 million to purchase land for intermediate storage of contaminated debris removed from Fukushima Prefecture. The government recently decided to spend public funds on some decontamination work previously the responsibility of TEPCO to speed the cleanup. To date, no intermediate storage facilities have been built, and municipalities at potential sites have resisted their construction. Plans call for the first debris to be moved to the sites as early as 2015 and stored for up to 30 years.
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