21 Octobre 2014
Workers at Japan's crippled nuclear plant have been showing off new tools to tackle a growing problem. They added equipment to decontaminate more of the water that's accumulating on the Fukushima Daiichi site. And they let the media see how they'll use it.
NHK WORLD's Mitsuko Nishikawa has the details.
This is a new unit of ALPS, the Advanced Liquid Processing System.
It's designed to remove most radioactive substances. Officials with Tokyo Electric Power Company say it can treat 750 tons of water every day.
Workers switched on their first ALPS unit in March last year. They've had to deal with a string of breakdowns. They showed the media their second unit.
They're also building a third with higher performance.
The extra units are essential. Three hundred tons of groundwater flows into the reactor buildings every day and gets contaminated. Workers store that water in tanks. They need to process about 360,000 tons.
"We're using a variety of equipment to try to decontaminate the water quickly."
Akira Ono / Chief, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant
Workers also showed off another new tool. It decontaminates groundwater pumped up from wells around the reactor buildings and discharges it into the ocean.
Over 40 wells surround the four reactor buildings. Workers stopped pumping up groundwater after the nuclear accident in 2011 because they found it contained radioactive substances.
They started testing the decontamination system this August. They say it cuts most radioactive substances to a level too low to detect.
Company representatives explained the system's capabilities to local fishermen, but couldn't ease all their concerns
"For all of us in the fishing community, it's very important that the decommissioning of the reactors proceed smoothly. TEPCO officials must let us know more about the situation."
Tetsu Nozaki / Chairman, Fukushima fisheries federation
Experts say decommissioning the plant will take 40 years. And the radioactive water is one of the biggest hurdles. Company executives say they'll keep making that water as clean as they can with help from the government.