Categories: world

Eight years threatens water requirements Fukushima heating

OKUMA, Japan (Reuters) – Eight years after the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, a new obstacle threatens to undermine massive cleansing: 1 million tonnes of polluted water must be stored, possibly for several years at the power plant. Last year, Tokyo Electric Power Co said that a system designed to purify contaminated water had failed to remove hazardous radioactive contaminants. This means that most of that water – stored in 1000 tanks around the plant – must be reprocessed before being released into the sea, the most likely scenario for disposal. Reprocessing can take almost two years and divert staff and energy from dismantling the tsunami-interrupted reactors, a project that takes up to 40 years. It is unclear how much it would delay the closure. But any delay can be expensive; In 201 6, the government estimated that the total cost of plant decommissioning, decontamination of affected areas and compensation would amount to 21.5 billion yen (192.5 billion dollars), about 20 percent of its annual budget. Tepco is already running out of space to store treated water. And should another big quake strike, experts say, tanks can crack, release dirty liquid and wash high radioactive waste into the sea. Fishermen struggling to regain consumer confidence are strongly opposed to releasing reprocessing water – which is largely considered harmless by Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) – in the ocean. "It would ruin what we built in the last eight years," said Tetsu Nozaki, director of the Fukushima Fisheries Cooperative Organization. Last year's…

OKUMA, Japan (Reuters) – Eight years after the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, a new obstacle threatens to undermine massive cleansing: 1 million tonnes of polluted water must be stored, possibly for several years at the power plant.

Last year, Tokyo Electric Power Co said that a system designed to purify contaminated water had failed to remove hazardous radioactive contaminants.

This means that most of that water – stored in 1000 tanks around the plant – must be reprocessed before being released into the sea, the most likely scenario for disposal.

Reprocessing can take almost two years and divert staff and energy from dismantling the tsunami-interrupted reactors, a project that takes up to 40 years.

It is unclear how much it would delay the closure. But any delay can be expensive; In 201

6, the government estimated that the total cost of plant decommissioning, decontamination of affected areas and compensation would amount to 21.5 billion yen (192.5 billion dollars), about 20 percent of its annual budget.

Tepco is already running out of space to store treated water. And should another big quake strike, experts say, tanks can crack, release dirty liquid and wash high radioactive waste into the sea.

Fishermen struggling to regain consumer confidence are strongly opposed to releasing reprocessing water – which is largely considered harmless by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) – in the ocean.

“It would ruin what we built in the last eight years,” said Tetsu Nozaki, director of the Fukushima Fisheries Cooperative Organization. Last year’s catch was just 15 percent ahead of the crisis, partly due to consumer reluctance to eat fish caught by Fukushima.

SLOW PROGRESS

During a visit to the ruined Fukushima Dai-ichi factory last month, large cranes swung over the four reactor buildings that hug the coast. Workers could be seen on top of building # 3 to get equipment ready to lift spent fuel rods out of a storage pool, a process that could start next month.

In most areas around the plant, workers no longer need face masks and whole body traits to protect against radiation. Only reactor buildings or other limited areas require special equipment.

Fanning over the resort’s property is enough thoughts to fill 400 Olympic pools. Machines called Advanced Liquid Processing Systems, or ALPS, had treated the water inside them.

Tepco said the equipment could remove all radionuclides except tritium, a relatively harmless hydrogen isotope that is difficult to distinguish from water. Tritium-laced water is released into the environment at nuclear sites around the world.

But after newspaper reports last year questioned the effectiveness of ALPS-processed water, Tepco admitted that strontium-90 and other radioactive substances remained in many thoughts.

Storage tanks for radioactive water are seen in Tokyo Electric Power Cos (TEPCO) tsunami-rippled nuclear power plant Fukushima Daiichi in Okuma city, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan February 18, 2019. Picture taken February 18, 2019. REUTERS / Issei Kato

Tepco said the problems arose because absorbent material in the equipment had not changed frequently enough.

The tool has promised to re-clean the water if the government decides to release it into the sea is the best solution. It is the cheapest of five options that a government working group considered in 2016; others included evaporation and burial.

Tepco and the government are now waiting for another panel of experts to issue recommendations. The panel manager declined an interview request. No deadline has been set.

National Manager Toyoshi Fuketa believes that post-dilution emissions are the only possible way to deal with the water problem. He has warned that the expulsion of the decision can indefinitely track the settlement project.

IS INDEFINITIVE

Another alternative is to store the water for decades in huge tanks normally used for crude oil. Thoughts have been tested for sustainability, says Yasuro Kawai, a plant engineer and a member of the National Commission on Nuclear Power, a group that advocates abandoning nuclear power.

Each tank holds 100,000 tons, so 10 tanks could store the approximately 1 million tons of water treated by ALPS so far, he said.

The Commission proposes that tritium-laced water, which has a half-life of 12.3 years, be in tanks for 123 years. Then it will be thousands as radioactive as it was when it went into storage.

Although experts warn that thoughts would be vulnerable to great shakes, Japan’s Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said the committee would consider them anyway.

“Long-term storage … has an upward slope, because radiation levels come down while in storage. But there is a risk of leakage,” says Seko to Reuters. “It is difficult to keep the water indefinitely, so the panel will also The space is also a problem, says Akira Ono, Tepco’s leading decommissioning manager. By 2020, the tool will increase tank storage capacity by 10 percent to 1.37 million tons and about 95 percent of The total capacity is likely to be used by the end of that year, he said. “Thoughts are now being built on flat, elevated places at stable locations,” said Ono. “But such an ideal space becomes sharp,” he added.

Many local residents hope that Tepco will only continue to store the water, if it is released into the sea, “everyone would fall to depression,” said fish trawler captain Koichi Matsumoto.

Fukushima was a g ng popular with surfers. But young people in the area do not surf anymore, because they have repeatedly warned of suspected radioactive contamination of the water, says surfing dealer Yuichiro Kobayashi.

Slideshow (22 Images)

Dispensing of treated water from the plant “could stop chasing the next generation of children away from the sea,” he said.

Ono says that the management of contaminated water is one of many complex problems involved in the decommissioning.

A year ago, when he took over that led the effort, it felt like the project had just “entered the trackhead,” he said. “Now it feels like we are really starting to climb.”

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Malcolm Foster and Gerry Doyle

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Share
Published by
Faela