JAPAN | Water treatment system enjoys record-high 77 percent operating rate

Posted on August 11, 2011

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JAPAN | MAINICHI | 11 August 2011

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) begins a trial run of a contaminated water treatment system, developed by France's Areva SA, on June 15. (Photo courtesy of TEPCO)

The operating rate of a radioactive water treatment system at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant stood at a record 77.4 percent between Aug. 3 and 9 after the system became operational on June 28, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced Aug. 10.

But Junichi Matsumoto, deputy chief of TEPCO’s nuclear power division, said there may be a slight delay in achieving the utility’s objective of treating radioactive water through the circulating injection cooling system within this year due to a series of mishaps.

The plant operator said the system treated about 6,500 cubic meters during the Aug. 3-9 period, topping its target of 5,040 cubic meters, after it replaced a sludge-filled piping unit with a new one.

But lightning and malfunctioned pumps temporarily stalled treatment operations, bringing the amount of contaminated water to 121,140 cubic meters as of Aug. 9, down by only 2,740 cubic meters from July 12. TEPCO said it plans to gradually raise the system’s operating rate to 80 to 90 percent.

Workers install a pressure sensor inside the No. 1 reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant on June 3, in this photo provided by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Workers install a pressure sensor inside the No. 1 reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant on June 3, in this photo provided by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Meanwhile, a water circulation cooling system for the spent fuel pool at the plant’s No. 1 reactor began Aug. 10, attaining the objective of operating the cooling system at fuel pools at the No. 1 to 4 reactors. The objective is part of “Step 2” (three to six months from mid-July) of a road map, unveiled July 19, to bring the crisis under control.

TEPCO fixed a faulty measuring instrument and succeeded in checking the fuel pool’s temperature inside the No. 1 reactor. It stood at 46 degrees centigrade at 5 p.m. on Aug. 10.

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