After changing the "rupture disks" for the Kurion's part of the system and blaming the workers for closing the valve by mistake, TEPCO has started the full run, using "hot" water that they have in abundance (over 110,000 tonnes of it) at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.
It must mean they were really running out of space to store the highly contaminated water, and have decided to run the full system made up of 4 different components by 4 different vendors (Kurion, Areva, Toshiba, Hitachi) with what looks to me like a very short test run. Or is this normal time-frame for a test run of the system like this? I'm no expert so I don't know for sure.
From TEPCO's handout for the press on June 17 (in Japanese only):
Kurion's system tested: from 3:45AM to 2PM, June 14 (10 hours and 15 minutes)
Areva's system tested: from 1:10PM to 8:35PM, June 15 (7 hours and 25 minutes)
Kurion+Areva tested: from 10:40PM, June 15 to 12:20AM, June 16 (1 hour 40 minutes)
Entire system tested: from 12:20AM to 7:20PM, June 16 when the system stopped (19 hours)
Entire system test resumed: from 1:00PM to ??? (NHK says the full run started in the evening, so 6 hours? making the total system test run of 25 hours)
If the "hot" water ever leaks like the low contamination water did (to the tune of 6 tonnes), I hope TEPCO and the participating companies have a plan ready to fix the leak.
Other potential Murphy moments would include:
Seawater (neither Kurion's nor Areva's system has dealt with contaminated seawater)
Super "hot" radioactive sludge from the process, estimated to be 2,000 tonnes (no one knows what to do with them)
NHK World (6/17/2011):
A system to decontaminate highly radioactive water has gone into service at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The system is considered key to dealing with the build-up of contaminated water that is hampering work to bring the reactors under control.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, activated the system on Friday evening after conducting final test-runs.
The utility earlier found water leaking from one of the system's 4 components -- a US-made cesium absorption device -- forcing the test-runs to be called off on Thursday.
TEPCO later determined that a mistakenly closed valve in the pipes had clogged the water, which then damaged a safety valve in one of the absorption units and caused the leak. The broken valve has been replaced.
Highly radioactive water is building up in reactor facilities at a rate of 500 tons per day. TEPCO hopes to cool the reactors by decontaminating the runoff and re-circulating the water.
Stable operations of the decontaminators will now be important, as the system has suffered glitches both before and during the test-runs.
Friday, June 17, 2011 20:51 +0900 (JST)