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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

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