January 8, 2014

This morning Tepco stopped the operation of the water decontamination system called ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System). ALPS takes water stripped of radioactive Cesium and removes all but one (Tritium) of the remaining 62 isotopes. At the outlet of the three-stream process, a container accumulates the removed substances. A crane is used to remove the filled containers and replace them with empty ones. The crane stopped working on Tuesday, forcing the shutdown of all three streams on this morning. Tepco does not know how long it will take to get the crane running again. 1.

What frosts me is that all three ALPS streams must have been operating for a considerable period of time before the crane broke down on Tuesday, but nobody seemed to care. Breakdowns in the system are announced by Tepco and widely reported by the Press inside and outside Japan. But, I have seen nothing from the company about ALPS since the last Tepco posting of October 28, which was specific to stream A’s resumed operation. There was nothing in that Press release about the other two process streams. The previous Tepco mention of ALPS was on June 16 specific to resumption of stream B, again with no mention of the other streams. I have seen but a single report on full ALPS system operation in the Press, November 16 in the Japan Times 2., but nowhere else before or after.

Regardless, we can confidently assume that all three ALPS streams have been running without a hitch since October 28, decontaminating waste water at its design rating of 750 tons per day (~190,000 gallons/day). This is good news. The Japanese public has a right to know. There is nation-wide angst over the wastewater buildup at F. Daiichi which deserves to be at least partially assuaged by this news. The international Press has also fallen down on the job. It has been upsetting the world and feeding the antinuclear internet sites with the on-going Fukushima wastewater issue, but nothing in the least about ALPS’ success! Why isn’t it being reported? How many tons/gallons have been decontaminated to date, thus reducing the so-called waste-water problem? I estimate 41 consecutive days at 190,000 gallons/day, which equals a whopping 7.8 million gallons of F. Daiichi wastewater that no longer contains radioactive Cesium or Strontium. The world deserves to know!

But, it seems both Tepco and the Press feel the world does not need to know! Tepco has dedicated a page to the on-going spent fuel transfer of unit #4. They should do the same with ALPS. And, the Press should keep everyone aware of ALPS’ successes with the same intensity as when operation has to be suspended.

Wait a minute…what am I thinking? Press reports about the good Fukushima news given the same passion as the bad? I must be dreaming…

References –

1 – http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20140108_36.html

2 – http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/11/22/national/three-alps-systems-undergoing-tests-at-fukushima-no-1/