10 Février 2016
February 10, 2016
Feb. 10, 2016 - Updated 05:43 UTC+1
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is beginning tests of an incinerator that will burn contaminated waste produced in work to decommission the crippled reactors.
About 7,000 workers are engaged in the decommissioning effort each day.
As of the end of 2015, about 66,000 cubic meters of waste had accumulated at the plant. That's enough to fill more than 100 25-meter swimming pools. The waste includes protective suits, metal sheets, and lumber.
Tokyo Electric Power Company has built an incinerator to burn the waste, and will begin testing it on Wednesday.
The incinerator is designed to reduce the volume of waste by about 90 percent.
TEPCO officials say it can operate around the clock and dispose about 14 tons of waste per day.
Experts say the ash that results will have a higher concentration of radioactive materials than the original waste.
TEPCO says it will store the ash in drums inside a radiation-proof building. The utility also says it will install filters on the incinerator's exhaust ducts to prevent the release of radioactive substances.
The test run will continue until February 18th. TEPCO says it will then check radioactivity levels in the exhaust fumes and hopes to launch full-scale operations by the end of March.