Tokyo Electric Power Company is conducting a trial run of a Japan-built water decontamination unit at its troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
TEPCO started testing the performance of the new equipment shortly past noon on Tuesday.
The domestic-made unit uses 14 cylindrical tanks, each 3.5 meters high and 1.4 meters across, that contain minerals to absorb radioactive materials.
The utility plans to continue the trial until Wednesday night, before starting full-fledged operations.
Since late June, TEPCO has been decontaminating highly radioactive wastewater from the reactors and then injecting the cleaned water back into the reactors to cool them.
But the decontamination system — the key part of the water circulation process — has been plagued with trouble and its foreign-made components have repeatedly stopped operating. TEPCO says it has been running at 66 percent of capacity, failing to meet the initial target of 90 percent.
The power company hopes the new, Japan-built decontamination unit will help achieve stable circulation for cooling.