Tokyo Electric Power Co. has given up its goal of completing radioactive water cleanup at its stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant with its ALPS system within fiscal 2014, informed sources said Sunday.
As of Tuesday, 367,000 tons of high-level radioactive water that had been used to cool the plant’s damaged reactors was being kept in storage tanks, waiting to be treated with the Advanced Liquid Processing System, according to data from Tepco.
When 11,000 tons that accumulated at trenches at the plant’s No. 2 and No. 3 reactors and 43,000 tons expected to become polluted by flowing into reactor buildings are included, the amount of water that needs to be treated by the end of March next year will reach 420,000 tons.
The ALPS system is now expected to treat 380,000 tons between September and March after planned capacity expansion. The company plans to treat the remaining 40,000 tons with a different cleanup system starting in December.
Tepco still insists that the cleanup process will be completed by the end of fiscal 2014. But the different system cannot remove radioactive substances other than strontium sufficiently, making it necessary for the remaining 40,000 tons to be treated again with the ALPS system in fiscal 2015 or later.
Moreover, the amount of groundwater that is expected to flow into reactor buildings could be larger than the currently estimated 43,000 tons.