Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Contaminated Water Treatment at #Fukushima I: Final Test Run of the Entire System Started

TEPCO finished the testing of Areva's decontamination system (no word yet as to how successful it was) and started the test run of the entire system (oil/strontium removal - cesium removal (Kurion) - decontamination (Areva) - desalination) at 12:20AM JST, June 16.

The test is scheduled to run for 30 to 40 hours before the full run starts with the high contamination water sometime on June 17.

I still don't quite get it. Why did TEPCO (or the Japanese government) need both Kurion's and Areva's systems? They both treat the same radioactive materials - strontium and cesium. It looks like a political arrangement to me, as the US couldn't just let France's Areva take the credit for cleaning up the contaminated water at a nuke plant with the wrecked GE reactors.

NHK World English: (6/16/2011):

The operator of the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant has begun testing a complex system to decontaminate highly radioactive wastewater.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, began the test run early on Thursday ahead of full-fledged operation on Friday.

More than 110,000 tons of the toxic wastewater has accumulated at the plant after months of using water to cool overheating nuclear fuel. The water is hampering work to bring the facility under control.

TEPCO is struggling to find storage space for the water, which is accumulating at a rate of 500 tons daily.

The treatment system combines 4 devices, including those made by French and US makers.
The French-made device uses a special chemical agent to treat the contaminated water. The US-made device is designed to remove radioactive cesium. Tuesday's testing showed it reduced cesium by one-3,000th.

TEPCO plans to reduce the level of radioactive substances to one-10,000th before moving decontaminated water to temporary tanks.

Technical problems delayed the test by 4 days.


Anonymous said...

Robbie001 sez:

Hey, it seems my 500 tons a day was a good guess I must have read it somewhere (probably here). OK, well that means they probably need 500 tons of treated production per day just to break even and cool the facility. So if everything runs perfect and as planned they should be storing/dumping about 700 treated tons a day or 21,000 tons per month. If TEPCO's estimate of 250,000 tons of treatment by the "end" is correct that means it could take nearly 12 months of perfect 24/7 operation under current conditions.

Now of course there will be factors that should eventually lower the cooling demands but I imagine it will stay in the 100's of tons until they close the cooling loops. It seems at this point they are just dumping water in the reactors and hoping it gets where it is needed. They need to find the exact location, distribution and condition of the melted fuel before they can hope to fashion a serious cooling circuit. If they close the loops and the treatment plant delivers on its worried promises they'll finish considerably sooner. But then again I could see them picking some arbitrary number as a "safe" level of treatment for dumping. Of course this number will be based on economics not environmental concerns. After all didn't the "experts" originally say radiation in the ocean would just dilute down to safe levels?

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