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Tepco touts Fukushima Daiichi cleanup, but long road ahead via Asia.nikkei.com

TOKYO — Progress has been slow in decommissioning the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, four years after the devastating the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami led to a meltdown at the power station in northern Japan.

The government has drawn up a road map, published June 12, for mothballing the plant over the next 30-40 years. But the cleanup faces mounting challenges, particularly the removal of radioactive water from the site.
[…]
The battle to contain and purify the radioactive water is far from over — and is just one step in a long cleanup and decommissioning process.

On the morning of May 29, workers at the plant discovered water leaking from a ruptured hose. The incident occurred as the workers were pumping highly radioactive water from a storage tank. In fact, Tepco’s progress report refers to only a portion of the water used to cool the nuclear fuel in reactors 1 through 3, and groundwater that has seeped into the reactor buildings.

The power company continues to pour more water onto the still-hot fuel, and groundwater keeps flowing in. In other words, the radioactive soup is receding very slowly. The government road map calls for all the contaminated water to be removed from the reactor building and surrounding areas by 2020.
[…]
Only 70% of the total, or 440,000 tons, has been run through the ALPS system. The remaining 180,000 tons has only had cesium and strontium filtered out; other contaminants remain. This water must be run through ALPS. That is the first step in the three-step plan for mopping up the contaminated water.

The second step is to halt the inflow of new water into the contaminated area. At the moment, about 300 tons flow into the area every day. A barrier of frozen soil will be created near reactor buildings 1 through 4 to cut the inflow to less than 100 tons a day by the end of March 2017.
[…]
Only 70% of the total, or 440,000 tons, has been run through the ALPS system. The remaining 180,000 tons has only had cesium and strontium filtered out; other contaminants remain. This water must be run through ALPS. That is the first step in the three-step plan for mopping up the contaminated water.

The second step is to halt the inflow of new water into the contaminated area. At the moment, about 300 tons flow into the area every day. A barrier of frozen soil will be created near reactor buildings 1 through 4 to cut the inflow to less than 100 tons a day by the end of March 2017.
[…]

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