water-purificationvia mainichi.jp / March 3, 2015 / The planned completion of the purification of highly radioactive water stored at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant is expected to be pushed back to sometime around May next year, more than a year later than initially planned, it has been learned.

Naohiro Masuda, chief decommissioning officer at the Fukushima Daiichi Decontamination & Decommissioning Engineering Co., disclosed the anticipated delay during an interview with the Mainichi Shimbun. The company was established by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. to handle reactor decommissioning and contaminated water at the crippled plant.

While the purification process had initially been scheduled to be wrapped up by the end of this month, company officials gave up on achieving that goal in January following a series of malfunctions of the water purification system, called Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS.

According to TEPCO, there is approximately 200,000 metric tons of contaminated water stored in tanks on the plant’s premises. In addition to the ALPS system that is capable of removing 62 types of radioactive materials including strontium, a newly installed apparatus that can single out strontium for removal is also in operation.

Masuda said during the interview that his company will prioritize the processing of strontium, which he says bears the largest influence, and aims to complete the process by the end of May.

Once strontium is got rid of, the concentration of radioactive materials in contaminated water would be trimmed to around one part per 1,000, he said. Because other types of radioactive substances will still remain in the contaminated water, purification of the entire amount of water is expected to finish around May next year, he said.

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