Saturday, June 4, 2011

Contaminated Water at #Fukushima Nuke Plant: Areva Hopes Their System Will Work

TEPCO is frantically bringing in temporary storage tanks for the contaminated water to the plant so that they can wait for the Areva's treatment system to go online in mid June without the water spilling over.

The problems with the Areva's system (besides the secret nature of the contract with TEPCO) is that the system is for treating the normal "contamination" in a normal nuclear power plant. At Fukushima, you have the reactors whose RPVs and Containment Vessels have been cracked or damaged, the fuel cores in 3 reactors melted with all kinds of junk inside and outside the RPVs and Containment Vessels, and seawater and fresh water poured over the molten mess which is now over 100,000 tonnes.

Will the Areva's system deliver? Areva's spokesperson says "Honestly it’s hard to say how it will work. We hope everything will be fine."

Now we know why TEPCO chose (if it had a choice) Areva: the same mode of operation. Try something anyway, see if it works, it it doesn't, well that's too bad, we'll try something else.

Actually, what else can they do at this point?

It is a costly way for trial and error, though.

From Washington Post (6/3/2011):

...... A potential turning point comes roughly two weeks from now, when Tepco plans to begin a treatment process in which water is sucked from the basement rooms and fed into a special tank, then treated with chemicals that eliminate its radioactivity. The process creates a byproduct of radioactive sludge, which is generally mixed with bitumen, poured into drums, then sealed and buried. The water itself can either be cycled back into reactors or discarded into the ocean.

The treatment system is being set up by Areva, a French company that uses the technology at its La Hague nuclear reprocessing plant, off the Normandy coast. Since 1997, Greenpeace — after taking water samples from La Hague’s discharge pipe — has made repeated claims that the supposedly decontaminated water in fact contains radioactivity levels above the regulatory limit.

The process “is not 100 percent, but it’s better than nothing,” Lochbaum said. “The alternative: you let the water simply evaporate and radioactivity carries to all parts far and wide.”


Under normal circumstances, Areva’s system can decontaminate 50 tons of water per hour. But experts admit that it is hard to predict just how efficiently the system will handle water that contains not only radioactivity, but also debris, oil and salt. Water might need to be treated numerous times, not just once, before it can be dumped into the ocean.

“Normally the processing is done at small volumes, and you have carefully controlled chemistry,” Barrett said. “Here you have massive volumes and a very heterogeneous chemistry.”

“Honestly it’s hard to say how it will work,” said Patricia Marie, an Areva spokeswoman. “We hope everything will be fine.”


Anonymous said...

I wonder if Areva is "hoping" the EPR works.

Anonymous said...

Robbie001 sez:

This is just like everything in the beginning they make loud and grandiose claims to sooth the public and critics and a month later they tell the truth under their breath. I was wondering if AREVA had some new technology but it looks like they are using off the shelf ion exchange. I knew the on-site waste water treatment plant was totally inadequate for the level of contamination found at Fukushima. Like I said before this water will be "treated" and dumped as quietly as possible. I wouldn't be surprised if they talk about an onsite deep injection well. The USSR did it for decades and probably still does. This report outlines some hypothetical accidents and problems an injection well can have.

As far as the nuclear boosters are concerned Fukushima is all but over and the lesson learned is we need to invest in "safer" plants. Never mind the "old" plants were supposed to be
so safe there would never be a problem they promise these new plants will be even "safer".

Bruno Ciaccafava said...

I've read this french news: June 03

It seems that Kurion as already send tons of stuff at Fukushima crippled plant. Will they replace or help Areva?

netudiant said...

Very useful input, Mr Ciaccafava. Thank you very much.

Clearly Kurion supplies the ion exchange medium that is expected to very selectively extract the cesium from the waste waters, as it has at other sites. AREVA builds the facilities and operates them, using Kurions material.The claimed selectivity of 100,000 to 1 is very promising. Hopefully it will be achieved in practice.
Note that Kurion is located in Irvine, CA. Their VP Strategic Initiatives was formerly a team leader for St Gobain and Patrick Moore, a founding member of Greenpeace, is listed as an advisor.

Secular said...

This is a link to a Greenpeace page dated January 2009 regarding Areva:

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