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Plastic pad clogs up Fukushima water cleaning system

32 Comments

A piece of plastic padding which clogged up a drain is thought to have caused the breakdown of a decontamination system at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, the operator said Sunday.

The Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), designed to remove radioactive material from contaminated water, is expected to play a crucial role in treating huge amounts of toxic water accumulating at the plant.

But it was halted due to a defect only hours after starting operations.

Workers found that a plastic pad, which fixed a ladder in the system, had worked loose and got stuck in a drain, probably causing the defect, said operator Tokyo Electric Power Co.

The ALPS system was switched on early Friday but was stopped late evening the same day when it was found not to be properly flushing fluid used to remove radioactive particles, TEPCO said in a statement.

There are three ALPS systems at the plant, hit by reactor meltdowns sparked by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The utility started trial operations of two of the three systems in March but halted them in June after corrosion in one was found to be causing water leakage.

The third system was activated on Friday before the stoppage occurred.

TEPCO has poured thousands of tons of water onto the plant's reactors to keep them cool, and continues to douse them.

The utility says they are now stable but need cooling water daily.

TEPCO has so far disclosed no clear plan for disposing of the huge amounts of stored polluted water.

© (C) 2013 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

32 Comments
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Good timing, just as fishermen start keeping the local catch for human consumption. BUT "it's under control" enjoy the sports!

6 ( +9 / -3 )

This is a crucial system, as it's the only one designed to remove strontium as well as cesium. If it doesn't work, it's really bad news.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

It seems to be no hope to clean up the water.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

One answer fits all situations in Japan.

This is most " regretable" but I'm sure they will " sincerely reflect on the situation", "collect all relevant information swiftly " and "take appropriate action speedily ", "to avoid public confusion" .

Cockroaches.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

This can't be true ! After all, Prime Minister (I almost wrote "minus-ter"...) Abe has told the whole world "everything is under control"... !!!

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Is "glitch" the new word for TEPCO now?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The whole thing has been a "glitch" from its inception to the aftermath of the tsunami. But no worries, everything is under control, be positive, be cheery we've got the Olympics and Abe! Oh and by the way, in very small fine print, we also have no plan for the disposal of the contaminated water.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Not a very advanced system then is it. Hmmm. So tepco is trustworthy and there won't be any danger to the people, right abe kun? Abe+usotsuki=asbesotsuki.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

lol - no day without a new incident from our favorite plant

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The system is not handled by tepco its a swiss company.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

overchan: "The system is not handled by tepco its a swiss company."

TEPCO is running it. But hey, "It's under control", right? Better head to the market to buy those Fukushima fish before they sell out!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Of course there's a glitch! What can they do right?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There is a much better explanation on this here:

http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20130928p2a00m0na006000c.html

What we find out is that the government completely handed over responsibility to the inept TEPCO, which is really a nuclear operator, not an engineering firm. They then turned to the usual nuclear village people for solutions. Toshiba proposed ALPS, which took almost 2 years to get up and "running" and it still doesn't work.

What should the government have done? Seriously admitted it was the world's worst man-made industrial disaster and called upon the international community of experts to offer any and all help to solve a never before faced problem. The government should also have humbly gone to the people and asked forgiveness and then made this a national priority for funding (as well as helping recovery of actual areas in Tohoku that could be recovered.

Well, we know the story of what they didn't do. Now, because of some international shame, things are starting to move, but the same hopeless bunch is in charge and they are just at the stage of acquiring knowledge and nobody knows what will work.

But Wow! Tokyo has the Olympics.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

TEPCO has so far revealed no clear plan for disposal of the stored polluted water.

Plan? Do you mean someone should be planning this?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'm still waiting to hear something from General Electric of the USA. After all, they designed and built the plant (part of the US promoted Atoms for Peace program). You'd think they would have some advice. Japan has been very polite calling the plant the "Daiichi" plant rather than the "General Electric Mark I" plant. Maybe if we started calling it the "General Electric Mark I" plant, GE would feel some motivation to help solve the problem to get the story out of the news.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

No problem! It's under control! It is completely normal for new machinery to fail in the first few hours of use.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The ALPS is overkill. A simple high reflux still would remove all isotopes other than tritium. That makes up part of the water. That water (tritiated distillate) can be frozen into a stable glacier andafter about 120 years, it will be effectively decayed away.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Is this the same company that provided the initial filtering system back in 2011 that also broke down immediately? At least the French one worked. Maybe we should be talking to France.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

At least TEPCO doesn't betray my expectations.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why no one (the news as well) don't mention that those instalations are still on a TEST running. Touden wanted to make it running full-scale in 2013 FY so there's still about hal a year to make it running in a stable conditions. And writing that TEPCO didn't present any plan makes me ask - what are ALPS doing there? Why it's been installed there if not to decontaminate the water? The style of writing pieces here, writing half-truth statements is strange... Someone should go back to school and learn how to write. Two of the most basic advices: learn on what you're writing about and write about that in a way that everybody will understand without a basic knowledge of previous events and proffesional knowledge.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I hope somebody is counting the cost of nuke energy in terms inconvenience, health of people and planet, funds spent, time, etc. These figures will help in estimating the future estimate cost of investment in nuke energy . Nuke energy was once sold as cheap global energy solution mainly because investment in risk, safety and security was ignored. And because it was sold as cheap, investment into R&D of alternative energy sources suffered. Can some exceptional leader put on a bold brave face and confess that " we misguided the world into a dangerous energy pathway. We must change now".

3 ( +6 / -3 )

A pad ? Better than rats I guess.

Ah. I see. Is related to a mouse pad!

The whole frigging place could be run better by MM.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

So the flowchart now looks like this:

Turn on machine. Check for pads. Open valve. Check for leaks. Test for radioactivity. Release into the sea. Check the fish. If radiation is high, apologize. Repeat.
6 ( +6 / -0 )

Under control of the day. Do they use an automatic excuse generator ?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The cost of nuclear power is overshadowed by radiation. Im not an expert but I always see people talking about radiation is like fall of humanity

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"TEPCO has so far disclosed no clear plan for disposing of the huge amounts of stored polluted water."

They are waiting for the next typhoon.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The system is not handled by tepco its a swiss company.

I think Overchan was making a joke about the fact that the place is full of holes... like Swiss Cheese. I thought it was pretty amusing.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The need to discount 'baseless rumours' is at an end- such farce played out by Tepco's ineptness is far stranger than any fiction......

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Just saw the photos of this 'pad' on TV.

Tepco employees had lowered a ladder into the tank for internal maintenance work. The bottoms of the ladders are fitted with rubber pads to protect the tank and prevent the ladder slipping. One of the pads must have come off the ladder as it was being removed, and it was just the right/wrong size to slide over and block the drain hole. All the tanks are now being re-checked for leftover material, apparently.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm still waiting to hear something from General Electric of the USA. After all, they designed and built the plant (part of the US promoted Atoms for Peace program). You'd think they would have some advice. Japan has been very polite calling the plant the "Daiichi" plant rather than the "General Electric Mark I" plant. Maybe if we started calling it the "General Electric Mark I" plant, GE would feel some motivation to help solve the problem to get the story out of the news.

Don't blame GE on this one, those reactor we dismantle in the 70's by the US government, but TEPCO didn't listen, they didn't care, so they keep the reactor with the design problem until now, typical Japanese, blame someone else for they mistake.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@The_True I'm not blaming GE. The Fukushima plants should have been closed down at least 20 years ago. But there was too much big profits by continuing to use the plants. Now 50 years of profits are lost due to the clean up. But I wonder if TEPCO has learned anything. Still, I am hoping that GE may have some advice to offer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

maybe GE did, but knowing Japanese pride, always getting on the way of progress or Logic. we may know someday, just like the JAL air crash long ago.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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