Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
TEPCO fires up the seawater treatment equipment

Tokyo Electric Power Co. on June 9 began testing cleaning equipment designed to remove radioactive materials from contaminated seawater around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

A full trial of the equipment was expected to be conducted on June 10, and unless major problems are detected, TEPCO will then begin treating the hundreds of tons of radioactive seawater around the stricken plant. The tests were initially scheduled to start on June 1 but were postponed because of problems with the power supply.

Radioactive seawater will first be pumped into a container and passed through a filter to clear it of algae and other materials. Two tons of zeolite, which absorb cesium, will be placed in the container. The designers of the equipment say the zeolite will absorb 60 to 70 percent of the radioactive cesium in the water. The treated seawater will then be pumped back into the sea.

TEPCO will install two of the cleaning machines, each capable of purifying a maximum of 30 tons of radioactive water per hour.


Even if they hooked two of the machines in series they would not be reducing the cesium levels they would not be reducing the levels by even one order of magnitude. A robot recently recorded 4 Sievert levels at one location at the plant. The reductions afforded by using one such machine would be comparable to reducing those levels to 1.2 Sieverts. Running the water through four such machines in series would be equivalent to reducing 4 Sievert levels to 50 mili-Sieverts. That might count as a real effort. Using one machine is just PR.

Talk about a low bar!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 11:27:13 PM EST
Cesium 137 has a 30 yr half life. During that time the 30% not removed from the "seawater" that is returned to the ocean will travel to every part of the world ocean. It will still have many half lives to go before it is rendered harmless. Keep in mind that this is seawater that has been injected into cores that have experience meltdowns and has subsequently leaked into other parts of the reactor-turbine facility. It is not slightly contaminated. It is severely contaminated. A 70% reduction is not adequate, IMO. It is (just) better than doing nothing. And how many days can the filter operate before the two tons of zeolite have to be replaced?

Four months to come up with this. How hard would it have been and how expensive to build eight of these? The (cosmetic) beat goes on.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 11:55:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A 70% reduction is not adequate, IMO. It is (just) better than doing nothing.

I beg to disagree... A 75% reduction would be equivalent to two half-lives of radioactive decay, and in the case of Cs137 with its 30-year halflife that's eliminating the first (and most intense) 60 years of the contamination.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 02:33:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But given the amount already dumped unfiltered and the toxicity of this water is it really too much to ask that they put a few of these filters in series? Subsequent ones should be quicker and cheaper to build and it is not really high tech stuff. Even with effectiveness declining over the useful life of the zeolite, four filters in series would reduce the concentration of cesium to around 5%. Of course, the power to run the pumps could be a problem for TEPCO. They might have to set up fossil fuel based generators on site instead of drawing power from an already starved grid. Better just to poison the oceans.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 10:15:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It might be more effective to run multiple in parallel ~ there'll be quite a bit of water that could do with processing.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 11:59:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, they need to get ahead of the rate at which they are generating new contaminated water, at a minimum. I am just astounded that it has taken three months to come up with one such filter, possibly two. But they can thoroughly test this one and the next and possibly, by the time the testing is complete the issue will be moot.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 12:18:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
TEPCO is still pretending to deal with What-Is instead of dealing with it.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 12:06:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan is now entering typhoon season.  They've already dodged one bullet.

What happens if a typhoon hits?  How much of the contaminated water will be picked-up and distributed as rainfall?  How much of the water already in the typhoon will be contaminated? How far inland will the storm-surge be expected to reach?  

And on and on.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 12:21:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Top Diaries

Impeachment gets real

by ARGeezer - Jan 17
24 comments

A Final Warning

by Oui - Jan 10
112 comments

Environment Anarchists

by Oui - Jan 13
4 comments

More Spanish repression

by IdiotSavant - Jan 6
8 comments

Occasional Series