Cesium-cleanup cloth made cheaper


The University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science and nonwoven fabrics maker Ozu Corp. said Tuesday they have succeeded in mass-producing a cloth that adsorbs radioactive cesium in water.

The team plans to sell it to regional governments in areas contaminated by radioactive fallout from Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant for ¥1,000 per square meter, about one-fifth the price of conventional products.

In May, Kazuyuki Ishii, an associate professor at the institute, and his colleagues developed a decontamination cloth dyed Prussian blue, which easily binds radioactive cesium dissolved in water.

The institute then established the mass production method in collaboration with Ozu, a Tokyo-based company specializing in nonwoven fabrics used to clean contaminated water at nuclear plants.

At the experimental stage using water contaminated with 20 becquerels of radioactive cesium, the cloth reduced the contamination level to 2-3 becquerels, the team said, adding the mass production version performs similarly.