via Asahi Shimbun / August 28, 2014 / Additional decontamination machines will be installed at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to treat the hundreds of tons of radioactive groundwater collected at the facility daily, the Nuclear Regulation Authority said Aug. 27.ALPS-Fukushima-Daiichi-425x288

The multi-nuclide removal equipment, called ALPS (advanced liquid processing system), began operating in late March 2013 and has handled 127,000 tons of contaminated water to date. But continuing glitches are still limiting the system to trial runs.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, intends to begin trial runs for the second set of ALPS from mid-September. When combined, the two systems will be able to manage twice the amount of contaminated water than before, or about 1,500 tons.

Approximately 400 tons of groundwater flows into the reactor buildings of the power plant every day, mixing with the highly contaminated water that cooled the nuclear fuel following the triple meltdown in 2011.

The ALPS was introduced to reduce the amount of radioactive materials in the contaminated groundwater. Because the system cannot completely eradicate radioactivity, the total amount of water that requires management remains the same, with or without the equipment.

However, the process minimizes risks of contamination if leaks or other accidents occur.

Along with the additional equipment, TEPCO plans to introduce an improved version of the system funded by the government in October.

As of Aug. 26, 367,000 tons of highly contaminated water sat in tanks placed inside plant grounds awaiting treatment.

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