The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has started removing rods from Japan's Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Tepco is the that operates the nuclear power plant. It was damaged and suffered meltdowns following being hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Tepco started the of the nuclear fuel on Monday, five years behind . The work to remove and relocate the hazardous rods was delayed because of a series of malfunctions of the devices that had been designed for the removal operation. Another that caused delays was high levels of radiation observed in the . Tepco said this posed a "significant " for engineers.
Tepco said it is removing seven unspent nuclear fuel rods from the reactor's . There are a total of 1,573 spent and unspent fuel rods stored at the plant. The rods will be transferred to storage pools at the plant. Tepco said the work would be completed by the of March 2021. A company spokesman, Tomohiko Isogai, said: "I believe everything is going so far. We will watch the at the site as we put safety first. Our goal is not to rush the but to carefully proceed with the decommissioning work." Another spokesman said: "Safety is our . We will carefully continue this ." Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan would do its best to rebuild the .