Japan to test radioactive water-treatment system at nuclear plant
The operator of a damaged nuclear power plant in north-eastern Japan was due Friday to start testing a treatment system designed to remove radiation from contaminated water, a key step in bringing the troubled plant under control, DPA reported.
The government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency gave the green light Thursday for the week-long test for the Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), which runs the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
Under the test, TEPCO would try to eliminate radioactive substances from water inundating reactor buildings and use the water to cool the reactors.
The six-reactor plant has leaked radioactive substances since it was damaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
As TEPCO has pumped water in to cool the overheating reactors, high levels of radiation-contaminated water have flooded the floors of the reactor buildings, which have prevented workers from restoring key cooling functions. Highly contaminated water has also leaked into the ocean.
The water-treatment facility consists of two main components: a caesium-absorbing installation developed by Kurion Inc of the United States and a decontamination installation developed by France's Areva SA, which removes radioactive caesium and strontium, the Kyodo News agency reported.
TEPCO aims to process 250,000 tons of highly radioactive water at the facility by the end of March, decontaminating about 1,200 tons per day.