Thursday, August 9, 2012

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: SARRY's Kanaflex Hose Finally Replaced with Steel Pipe

Toshiba's SARRY is a system with tall metal towers filled with different types of zeolites to absorb radioactive cesium in the water contaminated after being injected into the Reactor Pressure Vessels of Reactors 1, 2 and 3. It has pretty much replaced the trouble-prone Kurion system that operates on basically the same principle. As AREVA's decontamination system has also been stopped since September last year (when AREVA's system was found to increase the radioactivity; too radioactive even to enter the building, according to workers who tweet from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant), SARRY has been doing all the decontamination of radioactive materials from the water before the desalination process.

TEPCO released the photographs of the improvement it did to the system that is housed in the Miscellaneous Solid Waste Volume Reduction Treatment Building. There have been several leaks in the different parts of the system since the beginning of this year. Here's one from this March, from a bad weld. Here's another in February, when they found 3 Sieverts/hour radiation from the sludge from the pipe.

I was dismayed and sad, looking at the photographs. What's all the clutter? It looks like a half-abandoned building, not tended by workers for a long time. Look at the crude brace with lumber around the replaced Kanaflex...

Then I remembered a tweet by the worker at Fuku-I; no one envisioned a system (not just SARRY) to last for more than one year. SARRY came online in August last year.

From TEPCO's Photos and Video Library (8/9/2012), "Reliability Improvement of the Second Cesium Absorption Apparatus" (click to enlarge):

Many of the readers say TEPCO is so incompetent, rightfully. But what could you do when you have no money (for the plant, plenty for the top management and HQ personnel) and a dwindling number of workers with enough radiation exposure "credit" left?

There were people in the past who said they would like to come and work at the plant. Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan is one. And those retired engineers who formed an organization to press the government and TEPCO to accept them at the plant as volunteers.

Well, they could sign up with one of the subcontractors of the subcontractors of the subcontractors of TEPCO for 8,000 yen per day. Age and experience are not asked in the job interviews, I hear.


Anonymous said...

Let's cheer if it is an improvement, rigid rather than flexible plumbing.
OK for not bashing Tepco at every move they make, and yes there are people there taking much more risks than any readers of this blog.
OK also for changing one's mind...
Still there is no decontamination so far : only separation techniques : flush the sh.. down to your neighbour's garden, or in the sewer to the treatment plant, or spread it away through high chimneys (when the wind is good, please), spread it into the ocean, or concentrate it (increase it) into a smaller volume you plan to store in special tanks, for xxx years.

Anonymous said...

Cheer and KUDOs for the workers.."people taking much more risks than any readers"..yes, and we all need to support them AFTER they retire/dosimeter out as well. And their families! Would be nice to have an account set up for them..Japenese government, TEPCO or the public. From all we can see from the first two, bsst the public funds a health account for these heros...

Anonymous said...

OT: NRC Freezes Licensing Decisions To Consider Waste Options.

I would bet one of the new waste options they want to reappraise is reprocessing spent fuel. Even though reprocessing creates even more radioactive waste the nuclear industry always portrays it as a waste reducing measure. according to the article the decision will freeze eight plant license renewals, nine applications to build new reactors, an operating license and an early site permit.

Atomfritz said...

It was apparently sensible to replace the high pressure Kanaflex line with solid metal tubing. It apparently suffered from vibrations, one reason for the lumber bracing, and was probably prime candidate for a big spill.

The PIT instrumentation apparently started to drip from rusting, too.

So it was a necessity to reduce spills to prolong SARRY's longevity, to extend the time before the SARRY building finally becomes a radioactive ruin off-limits to humans.

But, I still cannot really believe that Areva's decon plant _increased_ radioactivity. To me it still looks like that the intent was just to use Japanese products to avoid curious French Areva spies sightsee this Japanese nuclear shame location and report to IRSN.

Anonymous said...

Well, AREVA never disclosed what the hell their system was removing, other than cesium. Corporate secret. TEPCO's data at one time did show the treated water out of Kurion going through AREVA system, and the water had higher radioactivity after AREVA.

Atomfritz said...

@ anon 11:27

A similiar law problem happened in Germany some time ago, too.
The consequence was that nuclear plants have to construct a dry cask storage building to "ensure safe disposal until a final storage has been determined".

And now German politicians battle about the recovery of 126,000 barrels of radwaste including reprocessing waste and several kilograms of plutonium from the Asse salt mine, which is going to collapse soon because of water inflow...

Atomfritz said...

@ anon 1:40

According to Areva the decontamination factors of its Actiflo-Rad process is 1000-10000 for cesium and 10-100 for strontium.
But, 45 foreign Areva agents had to be allowed onsite for support of the decon plant.

IIRC Sarry only removes cesium, and no strontium.

See more details in the "Atomwirtschaft", a nuclear industry magazine, May 2012, pg 308-313.

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