Monday, June 20, 2011

Contaminated Water Processing at #Fukushima: TEPCO Says Water Is "Hot", But The System Can Handle It

How? By switching around the order in which the contaminated water is treated at Kurion's system and adjusting the amount of water.

To review the whole process, the water first goes to Toshiba's oil separation system. Then it goes to Kurion's system for oil/technetium removal, then cesium removal, then iodine removal. Then it goes to Areva's system for further decontamination, and finally arrives at Hitachi's desalination system.

From Yomiuri Shinbun (9:56PM JST 6/20/2011):


TEPCO announced on June 20 that the radiation level at the water treatment system at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant rose sharply because the level of contamination of the water to be treated was more than they had expected.


TEPCO said the radiation level [at the system] would go down if they changed the sequence of the water flow [Kurion's system uses 3 types of zeolites for 3 different radioactive materials] and adjust the amount of water. TEPCO will continue the testing on June 20 evening, and the company hopes to resume the full run on June 21.


Initially, TEPCO thought the high radiation at the system was due to the larger than expected amount of radioactive materials absorbed by the zeolite, but when they removed the zeolite and injected the highly contaminated water through the system, the radiation level on the surface of the system jumped to 11.55 millisieverts/hour.


TEPCO's Junichi Matsumoto said in the press conference that they hadn't expected the radiation to be that high. The company will adjust the system so that the radiation level would not rise rapidly, and resume the full operation.


netudiant said...

Seems that TEPCO will need to monitor the activity of the incoming water continuously to derive the amount of incremental material captured in the filters.
It is not good that TEPCO is surprised by the level of activity in the water, as that is a fundamental element of the design specifications. Adjusting the system so the radiation level will not rise rapidly sounds to me like cutting way back on the amount of water processed. That cuts the safety margin even finer than before.

Anonymous said...

Robbie001 sez:

I don't think there was a design specification issue. This is the best of the best AREVA has to offer period and it isn't looking like it is good enough. Once again they currently need to treat 500 tons of water per day just to break even on cooling. At this rate water isn't going to cost $2585 per ton to treat it is looking like $5000 maybe even $10,000 per ton (if they are lucky). If the system radiation level is dependent on effluent flow rate they may have to lower it to a near useless trickle. I want to see top TEPCO officials there the day they claim they have this thing working so they can all drink a big glass of "treated" water straight from the tap in celebration .


netudiant said...

I agree that what TEPCO bought is certainly the best available anywhere. However, the scale of the unit is set by the level of contamination expected. That determines the interval between filter changes.
If the contamination is understated, the system will saturate prematurely, as is happening.
Imho, that is a specification issue, which will be solved for the moment by a combination of more frequent filter changes and reduced flow rate. It is doubtful the water level in the plant will go down much this summer, in fact we should be grateful if it does not overflow.

Anonymous said...

@ netudiant,

".. in fact we should be grateful if it does not overflow, soon."

fixed it for 'ya

Anonymous said...

Robbie001 sez :

I think they bought the largest system they could reasonably fit inside the wastewater treatment facility. For all we know the water may not have been as contaminated when AREVA made its initial assessment of the situation I doubt they would count on the boobs at TEPCO for accurate info. The wastewater has been steeping for months the contamination level may have skyrocketed in that time. I think they knew the saturation level before they started that is why AREVA backed off their initial rosy outlook right before the plant started operation with a resounding, "we hope it works". Think about it, if my hypothesis is correct I doubt TEPCO or AREVA would want the world to know. Instead I'd say, “D’OH we counted on TEPCO for accurate numbers and they dicked it, now we’ll just do our best with what we have”. I haven’t heard too much talk about adding capacity yet because I don’t think they have anywhere to put it or the time to build it. Originally AREVA claimed almost nonchalantly that they had a "special" system that would handle the wastewater at 1200 tons per hour, problem solved. Now we find out they don't even know what order to place the filter elements in. At this point they are just trying anything they can. Bigger usually takes longer, scale-wise they probably didn't have time to do much more than they did. The simple fact of the matter is there has never been a process for cleaning up nuclear soup on this scale and trying to "Apollo 13" their way through the process has gotten us where we are today.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Maybe duct taping the containment vessel will work.

Anonymous said...

Robbie001 sez:

@ Areva (^^)(^^)(^^)

It too bad they don't have someone like Gene Kranz at Fukushima maybe things would be different.

"Let's work the problem people. Let's not make things worse by guessing".

--Gene Kranz (Yeah, Tepco)

"I don't care about what anything was DESIGNED to do, I care about what it CAN do".

--Gene Kranz (Yeah, Kurion/AREVA)

Unfortunately I can't use my favorite quote from the movie because I agree with the NASA director's opinion as far as TEPCO goes.

NASA Director: This could be the worst disaster NASA's ever faced.

Gene Kranz: With all due respect, sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour.

What a great movie!

Anonymous said...

So the water really was that hot. So there may be 100 times more radioactive substances in those basements than previously estimated.

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