I'm not a nuclear expert, but I've done a lot of study over the years, particularly on reactors and recycling. IMO, it would be many, many years now before they could get any of the highly contaminated cleared out and safely disposed before any recycling could occur, and recycling tens to create a massive, volumetric increase in contaminated liquids and equipment. They probably have a few 100 football fields worth of highly contaminated (and some highly corroded) equipment, liquids, muck and partially melted rods to deal with. I'm pretty sure at this point that they will be focused on the cooling issue alone for some time to come. TEPCO has even said to the media that they don't know if this will take weeks, months or years to simply keep under control. I can't imagine how they could actually remove the spent rods and safely transport them for any kind of recycling (what few facilities exist around the world) any time soon, particularly with the limited capacity for workers in direct contact with plant components, but the information is still so patchy at this point, it's hard to say. Still, just because I can't imagine it based on my limited understanding doesn't mean more creative people aren't out there who can imagine ways to salvage something of this disaster, and certainly those people would have much more detailed knowledge about the *actual* conditions on the ground at each other the reactors and spent rod pools than anyone outside of TEPCO has.