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A member of the media, wearing a protective suit and a mask, looks at the No. 3 reactor building at Tokyo Electric Power Co's (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan February 10, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

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(Reuters) - A plan to remove spent nuclear fuel from Tokyo Electric Power Co Holdings Inc's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant hit by the March 2011 tsunami has been postponed again due to delays in preparation, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday.

Work is now set to begin in fiscal 2018 at the earliest, the Nikkei said.

Removal of the spent fuel from the No. 3 reactor was originally scheduled in the first half of fiscal 2015, and later revised to fiscal 2017 due to high levels of radioactivity around the facilities, the Japanese business daily reported.

The timeline has been changed again as it was taking longer than expected to decontaminate buildings and clean up debris, the news agency reported.

The report comes a few months after the Japanese government said in October the cost of cleaning up the Fukushima plant may rise to several billion dollars a year, adding that it would look into a possible separation of the nuclear business from the utility.

(Reporting by Krishna V Kurup in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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