JAPAN | Cleanup rate at Fukushima plant remains low

Posted on July 20, 2011

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JAPAN | NHK | 20 July 2011

A system to decontaminate radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant continues to work below its target capacity.

The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, has found that the system’s decontamination rate was about 53 percent during the past week, compared with the target rate of 70 percent. It has been unable to reach the target rate for 3 consecutive weeks.

The utility says the system’s low performance rate is due to water leaks as well as the fact that its capacity to remove radioactive materials is 30 percent lower than the catalog states.

TEPCO says the system’s performance has not improved even after its piping was changed, and that the cause of the problem is still unknown.

At the troubled plant, water used to cool down reactors has become radioactive and has been accumulating in the basements of the reactor buildings.

TEPCO has operated the cyclical system since late last month, using the water to cool down the reactors after decontaminating it.

On Tuesday, the utility company and the government said that the reactors are being cooled down in a stable manner. However, the system to recycle cooling water is not working well.

At the Number 1 reactor building, the level of polluted water in the basement at 7 AM on Wednesday was 13 centimeters higher than the previous day. TEPCO says a tropical storm has raised the water levels.

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