JAPAN | TEPCO starts evaporating saltwater

Posted on August 8, 2011


JAPAN | NHK | 8 August 2011

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has began evaporating contaminated saltwater, as a way to reduce accumulated radioactive seawater at the plant.

Contaminated seawater has accumulated in the basement of the plant, as a result of Tokyo Electric Power Company injecting seawater to cool down damaged reactors after the March 11th tsunami. The utility later began removing salt and radioactive substances from the contaminated seawater, to use the filtered water for cooling the reactors.

However, TEPCO says the system has the capacity to process only 40 percent of the contaminated seawater into freshwater, leaving 60 percent untreated. As of August 2nd, there was still about 21,000 tons of contaminated seawater left at the plant.

TEPCO had been testing a new system which could reduce 80 tons of saltwater to about 50 tons each day, by evaporating the saltwater. The steam will be recycled back to freshwater for cooling the reactor. The system was put into actual operation on Sunday, after the testing was completed.

So far, 2 units have been installed. TEPCO plans to introduce 6 additional units, hoping that all will become operational by October.

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