Kurion Awarded Contract to Treat Tank Water at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant
Originally Published on 06/09/2014
Company Delivering a Mobile, At-Tank Isotope Removal System to Accelerate Site Safety Improvements
Kurion, Inc., an innovator in nuclear and hazardous waste management, announced it has been awarded a contract by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to deliver a first-of-a-kind, at-tank mobile system to remove strontium from tank water at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Kurion has already delivered the first set of equipment to the plant’s staging area for inspection and plans to ship the balance of equipment in the coming weeks. Kurion expects that the system will be operational this summer.
This represents another significant Kurion project in support of the cleanup at Fukushima. In 2011 Kurion was part of an unprecedented effort by an international team of leading nuclear waste management companies to quickly deliver the first-ever external reactor cooling and purification system, which continues to perform its mission now three years later.
“Kurion has been honored to work alongside TEPCO in the initial 2011 recovery and since to address cesium, which presented the greatest immediate threat to human safety and the environment,” said John Raymont, Kurion founder and president. “Today, strontium is the greatest emitter of radiation impacting site dose-rates. So, reducing strontium in tank water stored on-site will significantly improve worker safety and reduces the risk to the surrounding environment.”
Under the contract, the Kurion Mobile Processing System, or KMPS, will be moved around the site and placed beside tank groups. The system is designed to help TEPCO reduce strontium (Sr) from the hundreds of tanks on-site that contain approximately 400,000 metric tons of water, a volume that is expanding at 400 tons per day. It employs a similar modular plug-and-process design approach as has been used successfully since 2011 in the Kurion cesium adsorption system, and supplemented with additional filtration capabilities. For the KMPS, Kurion uses a different proprietary, inorganic and easily vitrified ion-exchange media to separate strontium from competing, lower-risk contaminants also present in the water.
“We are committed to helping TEPCO and the Japanese people find a solution for the waste at the Fukushima Daiichi site,” added Bill Gallo, Kurion CEO. “Since Kurion started working with TEPCO in 2011, we have grown our team by more than tenfold and expanded our technologies and services to provide the scale and breadth of solutions needed for Fukushima and other nuclear and hazardous waste challenges worldwide.”
While the Kurion system and the growing number of Multi-nuclide Removal Equipment (ALPS) both process tank water, the goals in supporting the site road map are different. The larger and more complex ALPS processing facilities are designed to decontaminate 62 of the 63 radioisotopes present in tank water to prepare it for release into the environment. This is different than the purpose of the Kurion system, which is a mobile, at-tank system to accelerate improvement of safety at the site by focusing on strontium reduction while additional ALPS are developed. The contract requires that Kurion move rapidly to establish a system that can process up to 300 tons of water per day with more systems possible. Due to the high variability in water contaminant content across the hundreds of tanks, Kurion will work with TEPCO to implement Kaizen principles to constantly improve the system’s operations and performance.