Sunday, June 12, 2011

Update on Kurion's Cesium Removal System: Valve Doesn't Open

So, it looks like one of the 4 subsystems is not functioning. From yesterday's earlier information, it sounded as if not enough water was going through one of the 4 subsystems, but it turns out that no water was going through at all.

From Mainichi Shinbun Japanese (10:50PM JST 6/12/2011):


A problem was found in the cesium absorption system by the US company Kurion. During the test using seawater on June 11 evening, TEPCO found out that the water did not flow through one of the 4 subsystems.


Upon investigation on June 12, TEPCO found the valve that was supposed to open and close automatically was not working. The company is looking into the software program that controls the valve.

The system was hastily assembled, for sure. I hope it was not hastily tested before it reached Fukushima. Even the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency's spokesman Nishiyama is not too happy.

Somehow, I get this feeling that the snafu is not over with the contaminated water treatment complex. I don't know whether Kurion and France's Areva have worked together in the past to assemble a system that incorporates their individual systems. The next process after the Kurion's cesium absorption tower is the Areva's decontamination system.

I don't want to hear the fundamental engineering error again, but wouldn't be surprised to hear it: units of measurement. By now, all engineering companies use the metric system, I hope. Japan and France use the metric system. Does Kurion?

(I don't remember reading about how much the Kurion's system costs...)


netudiant said...

Hopefully this is a simple software glitch.
The column apparently flows fine on its own, but not when it is off a distribution tree with 4 valves. That will need to be fully understood and corrected, as these valves will not be easily accessed once in service.

There is too little data on Kurion to evaluate their product, but it has an NRC blessing and it is designed for easy vitrifiction after use, which simplifies the eventual disposal.
My guess is that their product is currently used in operating reactors, to extract any radioactive material from the cooling water. This kind of polishing is an essential part of plant operations, to keep the non reactor parts of the plant from getting contaminated. Nuclear plants are not eager to discuss this aspect of operations, so Kurion's low profile is somewhat understandable.

Anonymous said...

Just read that in an article in Sunday Mainichi, Prof. Teruo Henmi at Ehime University mentions that "Filters that TEPCO is going to use in order to clean contaminated water cannot get rid of Plutonium." Sorry, no link/reference.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Known nuclides that Kurion's system supposedly removes are technetium and cesium. Areva's system, cesium and strontium. That's all they allow to be disclosed. And no one demands the details, and fewer and fewer reporters show up at TEPCO's presser.

Much like Japanese engineers couldn't question anything that GE told them to do, when they built the plant.

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