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Fukushima 1 NPP resumes operation of radioactive water treatment system

September 30, 2013, 11:34 UTC+3
It had been stopped in August after a major leak
1 pages in this article
Photo EPA/NOBORU HASHIMOTO

Photo EPA/NOBORU HASHIMOTO

TOKYO, September 30 (Itar-Tass) - After another failure, the operation of the radioactive water treatment system at Japan’s nuclear Fukushima Daiichi (Fukushima 1) nuclear power plant, was partially resumed on Monday.

It had been stopped in August after a major leak. Then 300 tons of highly radioactive water flew from its reservoirs. After checks were made and corrosion liquidated, of one of the three lines of the system was launched on September 27. However, it was producing a suspiciously little volume of purified water. The check found that the drain system was blocked by an industrial rubber sheet that had been left by a worker.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said early Monday it has resumed operation of its water treatment system at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, following its suspension late last week, the Kyodo news agency reported. The three-line advanced liquid processing system, known as ALPS, was suspended Friday after the utility detected a problem. TEPCO determined Sunday a rubber sheet left in a water tank near the system obstructed the drain outlet and caused the problem. ALPS is intended to remove most radioactive materials from contaminated water and is expected to play a crucial role in the utility's fight against the toxic water continuing to accumulate at the crippled nuclear plant.

The system purifies water from 62 types of radioactive substances with the exception of tritium. There are currently no ways to remove this radioactive isotope of hydrogen. However, tritium is relatively non-hazardous to humans, because it has a weak radiation that does not accumulate in the body.

At present, about 440 thousand tons of water with varying content of radioactive substances have been accumulated in the basement of the Fukushima 1 NPP in the drainage system and in tanks at the plant’s territory. It has become the most serious problem for the liquidators, as without its settlement they cannot proceed to the full cleanup of the NPP and dismantling of its systems.

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