There were a few news outlets in late November and early December last year that reported TEPCO would start removing the debris from the Reactor 3 Spent Fuel Pool at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in mid December. Hardly anyone paid attention. (No one probably thought it was possible.) Then there was no news of it actually starting.
Well, news or not, the work started on December 17, 2013. That information was shared at the meeting on December 26, 2013 on "Roadmap to Decommissioning", which was available via live feed on the net. However, unless you are one of the dwindling number of reporters and net citizens who continue to follow the accident by attending/watching such meetings, you wouldn't know.
I didn't know because I couldn't watch the whole meeting and didn't take a look at the entire document that contained the information until now.
There is no photos or videos posted at TEPCO's site (in the Photos and Videos Library).
From the 242-page document presented at the December 26, 2013 meeting of "Roadmap to Decommissioning" (pages 152-158):
The slide says:
In order to remove fuel assemblies from the Reactor 3 Spent Fuel Pool, removal of large-size debris in the Spent Fuel Pool started (December 17).
Reinforcing bars and deck plates that won't interfere with the Fuel Handling Machine [number 8 in the 3-D model] will be removed by the first half of February 2014.
The incident that caused the video camera to drop into the pool has been investigated and the countermeasures put in place.
The order of large-size debris removal:
0. Measures to prevent [additional] debris from falling into the pool (by covering with liners)
1. Remove reinforcing bars, deck plates (1->2->3) - Current work
2. Remove masts, trusses (4, 5, 6, 7)
3. Remove the Fuel Handling Machine (8)
4. Remove the end-track on the west side of the Fuel Handling Machine (4)
5. Remove debris from the cask area (10)
3-D debris map from a different angle, and the location of the video camera that dropped into the pool in November last year:
Kyodo News reminded readers on its 12/2/2013 article that there are 52 new (not irradiated) fuel assemblies and 514 spent fuel assemblies in the Reactor 3 spent fuel pool.
Kyodo also reports that two cranes will be used, and up to 11 monitoring cameras will be used. All the work will be done by remote-controlled vehicles and equipment. No information whether the human workers are to be posted near the work for further safety monitoring.
All of the MOX fuel that TEPCO had at the plant was in the reactor itself at the time of the accident.