Water treatment system tested


Workers on Sunday began checking devices that will help decontaminate the radioactive water that is flooding the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, officials said.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., which manages the badly damaged plant, is building the system and hopes to activate it in about a week so it can start cleaning the massive amounts of highly dangerous water being created at the plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

The system is being set up at a facility where tainted water from reactors No. 2 and No. 3 has been transferred. It is expected to treat about 1,200 tons per day by reducing the concentration of radioactive substances in it to somewhere between one-thousandth and one-ten thousandth of what it is now.

The system includes an oil separator, a device to absorb radioactive cesium, decontamination equipment for cesium and strontium, and a desalination apparatus, the officials said. Some of the devices were made with technical cooperation from Kurion Inc. of the United States and Areva SA of France.

Workers held trial runs Sunday and are to test the equipment further to make sure it is all operating properly, they said.

The plant lost the ability to cool is six reactors when the March 11 quake and tsunami knocked out all power and ruined its backup generators.

Reactors 1 to 4 need perpetual injections of water from outside to keep the fuel rods and spent fuel from overheating. But vast pools of water are accumulating.