A chimney which can be reconfigured or removed during refueling to allow vertical removal of the fuel assemblies. The chimney is designed to be collapsed or dismantled. Collapse or dismantlement of the chimney reduces the volume required for chimney storage during the refueling operation. Alternatively, the chimney has movable parts which allow reconfiguration of its structure. In a first configuration suitable for normal reactor operation, the chimney is radially constricted such that the chimney obstructs vertical removal of the fuel assemblies. In a second configuration suitable for refueling or maintenance of the fuel core, the parts of the chimney which obstruct access to the fuel assemblies are moved radially outward to positions whereat access to the fuel assemblies is not obstructed.