MSU’s Institute for Clean Energy Technology is the international leader in evaluating the performance of high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration systems used in nuclear power plants. ICET Director Charles Waggoner said HEPA filters, which are used in nuclear power plants’ containment ventilation systems, prevent the release of air with radioactive material into the atmosphere.
The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was damaged in March 2011 by a tsunami that followed an earthquake. The team of engineers visiting ICET is responsible for designing the containment ventilation systems for the damaged reactors before the containment vessels can be breached to begin debris removal.
“Much of the world’s population is aware of what happened at Fukushima. Of the four reactors, three suffered a core meltdown,” Waggoner said. “They are at the point of trying to determine how to breach the containment vessel in order to start to retrieve the radioactive debris from the core melting down. That material will be highly radioactive and the process that will be used will also produce aerosols. The way you remove radioactive aerosols from an airstream is to, among other things, use HEPA filters at the end of the treatment train. They’re here because of our ability to evaluate the performance capabilities of HEPA filters under very adverse conditions.”
The visiting officials from Japan also will visit the Hanford Site in Washington State to discuss design considerations and the use of HEPA filters in the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant.