New Tools to Clean Coolant in Japan

Thursday, July 7, 2011 @ 01:07 PM gHale

A mechanism is now in place in Japan’s earthquake- and tsunami-ravaged Dai-ichi nuclear plant to remove radioactive material from water and cycle it back into the facility for reuse as coolant. This is a huge step toward stabilization efforts.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) is battling to prevent radioactive contaminants from escaping the six-reactor Fukushima facility following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that left more than 20,000 people dead or missing in Japan.

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The utility pumped water into the plant on an ongoing basis in an effort to cool components, resulting in radiation-tainted liquid flooding large portions of the site.

The new system could help prevent contaminated liquid from collecting at the facility if it keeps operating as intended, potentially addressing a factor that has constrained repair efforts, the company said.

Technical problems previously forced several shutdowns of the equipment, which is now mitigating heat buildup at four reactors.

Meanwhile, the plant operator on Friday finished building a tsunami barrier outside reactors No. 3 and No. 4 and the site’s waste treatment facility.

The barrier, consisting of rocks held together by wiring and tarps, is capable of providing protection against an 8-meter-high wave, the Tepco said.

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