TEPCO flounders as leaks of contaminated water, problems with ALPS continue

September 29, 2013


Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Sept. 28 confirmed that low-level radioactive water had leaked from another storage tank at its stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the latest in a series of leaks of contaminated water.

The embattled utility said a worker discovered the leak in a storage tank near the No. 6 reactor around 10:45 p.m. on Sept. 28. The unit stores seawater that flowed into the basements of the Nos 5-6 reactors after a 15-meter tsunami inundated the plant in the March 2011 disaster triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The two reactors were offline when the quake and tsunami struck.

The tank in question is the so-called flange type, in which the steel panels are fastened with bolts rather than welded, the same design of one near the No. 4 reactor that was discovered in August to have leaked 300 tons of highly radioactive water.

Meanwhile, the utility said the same day that an ALPS (advanced liquid processing system) water treatment device, which can eliminate 62 radioactive substances from contaminated water, including strontium, remained suspended.

The multi-nuclide removal equipment was taken out of operation about 22 hours after it was put back online for a trial run after midnight on Sept. 27. Failure to remove mud generated in the process of treating water interfered with the ALPS system, TEPCO said.

Three ALPS devices have been installed at the plant to treat the increasing volume of contaminated water used to cool the crippled reactors and render it less hazardous for storage.

Trial runs of the two other units were suspended after problems surfaced earlier this year.

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The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant (Asahi Shinbun file photo)

The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant (Asahi Shinbun file photo)

  • The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant (Asahi Shinbun file photo)

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