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Contaminated water leaks from ALPS system

 April 16, 2014

Radioactive water overflows at treatment facility




The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says another setback has hit a key system used to decontaminate highly-radioactive water.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company says water used to wash contaminated equipment overflowed from a storage facility on Wednesday.

TEPCO says workers discovered the problem while washing a tank used for filtering radioactive substances from water. The tank is on one of the 3 separate lines of the Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS.

The utility says more than 1,000 liters of water overflowed and are now within a barrier inside the ALPS building.

The firm says the water contains 3.8 million becquerels of beta ray emitting materials such as strontium and 6,700 becquerels of cesium 137.

The company says no workers have been exposed to radiation from overflow.

It is checking the concentration of radioactive substances in the water and investigating the cause of the accident.

Only 1 of the three 3 lines in the decontamination facility is in service following a problem last month, when the system's performance dropped sharply.

ALPS is the main facility at the plant used to decontaminate water, and can remove almost all radioactive substances. Test operations started last year, and full-fledged use was scheduled to begin this month.

However, the system has experienced various technical difficulties, forcing it to be shut down frequently.

Apr. 16, 2014 - Updated 11:06 UTC


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