Why Japan Desperately Needs Russian Technology to Contain Radiation

Why Japan Desperately Needs Russian Technology to Contain Radiation © AFP 2016/ TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA

17:51 10.03.2016(updated 20:06 10.03.2016) Get short URL

In March 2011 an earthquake and subsequent tsunami damaged the nuclear power units, Fukushima-1, which led to the melting of the reactor cores and the release of a significant amount of radioactive particles.

In order to contain the harmful contamination, a large number storage tanks for liquid radioactive waste were quickly built, trenches were dug to collect groundwater and to prevent radioactive water from flowing into the sea. However, the Japanese technology was not enough to dispose of the radioactive water.

For this reason, in 2014, the Japanese government announced an international competition and allocated more than $9.5 million for the most efficient design for eliminating liquid radioactive waste.

Out of 29 international companies ‘RosRAO’, US Company Kurion Inc and US-Japanese GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Canada Inc. were selected. It is expected that pilot projects will be presented by the end of March.

The world has never faced a problem of such magnitude related to the disposal of liquid radioactive materials, expert of Khlopina Radium Institute, Sergey Florea, said.

“After the institute won the international tender for water purification from tritium, during 2015 we worked on the creation of a demonstration plant. It is designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the process on an industrial scale, which can help fix the problem within 5-6 years.”

“At the Fukushima-1 site more than 700 thousand cubic meters of radioactive waste containing tritium has accumulated. Russian Radium Institute has dealt with waste recycling of tritium before. Therefore, when the accident occurred at Fukushima-1, we realized that Russian technology will be in demand. When experts from Japan came to our institute, they above all, tried to articulate their needs.”

Florea spoke about the production which is at least 4,000 cubic meters of waste per day. Until now such systems with tritium waste processing capacity did not exist. Essentially, there were units with waste processing capabilities of no more than 100-200 cubic meters.

Currently, ‘RosRAO’ is testing their equipment to purify water which has been contaminated with radiation. If the tests show the necessary characteristics, the pilot project will be the basis for the creation of a large industrial plant.

In addition to the specifications, Russia is offering technology that will provide the lowest operating cost.

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