JAPAN | Fukushima plant suffers a leak in water filtering

Posted on July 14, 2011


JAPAN | NHK | 14 July 2011

A system for decontaminating and recycling radioactive wastewater at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been halted again after operating in fits and starts.

Plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, found a leak through a broken plastic joint in a French-made facility on early Wednesday afternoon, forcing a shutdown for more than a day.

As of late Thursday afternoon, Tokyo Electric has not finished replacing the damaged polyvinyl chloride joint. The PVC joint, which was the cause of earlier leaks, is thought to be structurally too weak.

The company says the latest shutdown does not affect its operation to pump coolant into the reactors.

The system is designed to filter radioactive wastewater pooled in the basement of reactor buildings, and then sent the cleaned water back into the reactors as coolant.

A series of troubles since the start of operations in June has resulted in operation rates of only about 73 percent during the past week, far below the targeted 90.

Tokyo Electric considers the system critical in meeting its target of putting in place a stable reactor cooling system by July 17th. The date would mark the end of phase one in a timetable it has set for bringing the reactors under control.

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