The trouble-plagued ALPS water decontamination system at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has once again shut down, this time due to an unknown problem, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said on Oct. 4.
According to TEPCO officials, the equipment automatically stopped operations after an alarm went off at around 6:45 a.m. on Oct. 4. Officials said no leak had been found, and they were working to find the cause of the latest problem, which resulted in the third such stoppage since June.
The equipment is designed to remove 62 radioactive contaminants from the water, including strontium.
The ALPS (advanced liquid processing system) unit has three channels, called A, B and C, and each has the daily capacity to process 250 tons of water.
Plans had called for using the equipment to process the huge volume of contaminated water that is stored in tanks at the plant. Some of the tanks have leaked, adding to the urgency for a system to remove radioactive materials to reduce the dangers posed by the water.
The ALPS system began a trial run starting in late March, but leaks were discovered in the system’s tanks in June, leading to the first stoppage. The trial run resumed on Sept. 27 in channel C, but operations were halted once again, just 22 hours later, when the equipment developed problems in discharging mud. TEPCO officials believe the cause of that problem was due to a failure to remove a rubber pad from the tank, leading to a blockage in the system.
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