Responding to the Crisis at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, Japan

We were among the first responders to assist TEPCO in the Fukushima tsunami recovery. To date, our technology has been used to remove more than 3.7E17 Bq (10 million curies) of Cesium from more than 370,000 m3 (about 100 million gallons) of aqueous waste. We have also deployed a mobile technology platform to remove Strontium from water held in hundreds of storage tanks on the site. At the reactors themselves, our Remote Access technologies are used to inspect and repair reactor containments.

  • Fukushima Daiichi

    Our team at Fukushima Daiichi

  • Fukushima Daiichi

    Our team at Fukushima Daiichi

  • KMPS arrival in Japan

    KMPS arrival in Japan

  • Fukushima Daiichi

In the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan, residents and visitors fled the Region amid fears of aftershocks and concerns about the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

In the early days after the event, TEPCO chose our team to help clean contaminated water at the site.
 

A Race Against Time: Provide a Cesium-Removal System

Cesium Adsorption System

At Fukushima, the chief concern was removing Cesium from the millions of gallons of wastewater. Cesium was the principal source of radioactive dose at the site and posed the greatest safety risk. It is a strong gamma emitter and one of the few ions found in nuclear waste that can penetrate steel piping.
It was essential to capture the Cesium so workers could more safely navigate the site and begin the historic cleanup.
Our solution was based on ion exchange between sodium and Cesium, using our Ion Specific Media (ISM). Ion exchange materials can capture ions based on both their size and charge.

TEPCO needed more than media – it needed a fully engineered system that it could put in place rapidly. During the crisis, new information emerged from the site daily, and we worked with partners at TEPCO to incorporate the new information to its design in real time. We activated an entire supply chain to design and construct a Cesium-adsorption system in just five weeks.

The 1200 m3/day (320,000 gallons/day) rated system was assembled at Fukushima in nine days, followed by only one day of cold commissioning and three days of warm commissioning before hot startup with actual wastewater.

Our system helped TEPCO achieve cold shutdown status on December 16, 2011 by delivering the following results:

  • Rapid eight-weeks for system design, fabrication, delivery and startup,
  • Achieved Cesium-removal goal of 99.9%,
  • Responsible for more than 70% of radioactivity removed at the site, and
  • Processed more than 100,000 m3 of water

 

A Mobile Water Treatment System in Operation to Remove Strontium

By 2014, hundreds of storage tanks were holding 400,000 m3 of water that was used to cool the reactors after the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, a volume that continues to expand.

To quickly improve the safety of the site and reduce the risk to the surrounding environment, TEPCO turned to us to design and construct a mobile system to remove strontium from the water stored in the tanks. To meet this urgent need, we designed, constructed, and delivered the system in approximately seven months.

Our Mobile Processing System (KMPS) was used for at-tank mobile water treatment system in Fukushima to remove strontium from the water with a process rating of 300 m3/day. KMPS is composed of five modified ISO shipping containers. It employs a modular, plug-and-process design that is similar to the company’s successful cesium-removal adsorption system, and supplemented with additional filtration capabilities. It was shipped via an Antonov airplane, the world’s largest cargo plane.

Results: 

  • Our first mobile processing system started operating at the Fukushima Daiichi site in early October 2014 and removed more than 99.95% of the strontium from the water, surpassing decontamination targets.
  • When fabrication of the first system was nearly complete, TEPCO asked us to build a second system identical to the first, which was delivered in only 13-weeks and went into operation in February 2015.


The two KMPS helped TEPCO achieve an important safety milestone in the cleanup in May 2015 by removing strontium from the water. According to TEPCO’s announcement, “The filtering of Strontium represents the removal of the substance most likely to contribute to radiation in the environment.”

> To know more about Separation of Radioisotopes
> To know more about ISM®
> To know more about KMPS