Fukushima water decontamination system down again

March 25, 2014
Welded tanks are shown above ground at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 10, 2014, nearly three years after the plant was paralyzed by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in 2011

The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said Tuesday it had shut down a key decontamination system used to clean radiation-tainted water, just hours after it came back online.

Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) switched off its Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) after workers discovered leaks "seeping" from a tank late Monday.

About eight litres (2.1 gallons) of tainted is believed to have leaked out, a company spokesman said. He added there was no immediate safety risk as the water had been recovered.

The suspension came just six hours after the embattled operator switched back on two of three lines in the system, which cleans radiation-tainted water used to cool the reactors damaged by Japan's devastating 2011 quake-tsunami disaster.

The whole system had been shut down last Wednesday after TEPCO discovered a defect. The firm has repeatedly switched the system off over a series of glitches since trial operations began a year ago.

TEPCO is struggling to handle a huge—and growing—volume of contaminated water at Fukushima following the quake-tsunami, which sparked the worst atomic crisis in a generation as well as sweeping away some 18,000 victims.

Giant waves crashed into the plant, sparking reactor meltdowns and explosions. Cleaning up the shattered site is expected to take decades.

There are about 436,000 cubic metres of stored at the site in about 1,200 purpose-built tanks.

Many experts say that at some point the water will have to be released into the sea after being scrubbed of the most harmful contaminants.

They say it will pose a negligible risk to marine life or people, but local fishermen and neighbouring countries are fiercely opposed.

Explore further: Radioactive water 'may have leaked' from Fukushima

Related Stories

Radioactive water 'may have leaked' from Fukushima

April 6, 2013

Radioactive water may have leaked into the ground from a tank at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the operator said on Saturday, the latest in a series of troubles at the crippled facility.

Japan to boost surveys off Fukushima: report

September 14, 2013

Japan's nuclear authority plans to conduct radiation contamination surveys at 600,000 points on the seabed off the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, up from 200 places so far, a report said Saturday.

Plastic pad clogs Fukushima water cleaning system

September 29, 2013

A piece of plastic padding which clogged up a drain is thought to have caused the breakdown of a decontamination system at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, the operator said Sunday.

Recommended for you

Nevada researchers trying to turn roadside weed into biofuel

November 26, 2015

Three decades ago, a University of Nevada researcher who obtained one of the first U.S. Energy Department grants to study the potential to turn plants into biofuels became convinced that a roadside weed—curly top gumweed—was ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Mar 25, 2014
As most of your world-weary readers suspected, the radioactive water will be released either in an accident---supported by inexperienced workers---or by necessity. Many are not aware that there are designated sites for nuclear disposal that exist in the world's oceans. The United Nations has sanctioned these sites for the Asian countries that have insufficient land for disposal.
Sadly, this portends further releases as the accumulated spent fuel rods continue to need cooling. As 75 years ago, the proposed solution is still the futile hope for fusion. Why? Because there is no other solution for this radioactive toxin.
Fusion seems to be forbidden here on Earth as the sun itself has a slight imbalance between hemispheres which may the cause of the imbalance on the quantum level that disrupts the magnetic pressure leading to a controlled implosion.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.