A chemist and a domestic company have jointly developed a powder that can capture and precipitate radioactive substances in water and that could be used in the ongoing effort to deal with contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, the chemist said Tuesday.
The powder, made of various chemicals and minerals, including zeolite, can remove radioactive substances such as iodine, cesium and strontium, according to Tomihisa Ota, a professor at Kanazawa University who developed it with Kumaken Kougyou Co., a pollution cleanup company in Akita Prefecture.
Ota said his experiments proved the powder can remove almost 100 percent of cesium when 1.5 grams of the powder are mingled with 100 milliliters of water in which cesium has been dissolved at a density of 1-10 parts per million. The tests also confirmed that the powder can remove iodine and strontium.
The substances used in the tests were not radioactive. But he said the powder can be used to dispose of radiation-contaminated water “because these substances have the same chemical properties, regardless of whether they are radioactive or not.”
The densities of radioactive substances seeping into the water at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex are estimated at around 10 ppm. The powder was confirmed to have the ability to remove iodine even at a density of 100 ppm.
Large volumes of water containing radioactive materials have accumulated at the plant, which was crippled by last month’s earthquake and tsunami, hindering efforts to bring it under control.