”The operator says it expects to burn up to 14 tons of waste per day. But the resulting ash will have a higher concentration of radioactive materials than the waste has before it is burned.”
Fukushima plant begins testing waste incinerators
The operator of Fukushima Daiichi has begun testing an incinerator facility at the damaged nuclear power plant. The facility will be used for burning used protective gear and other waste produced during the decommissioning of the plant’s reactors.
Tokyo Electric Power Company initially planned to start testing the two incinerators at the facility on February 10th. But a water leak forced a delay.
Workers on Thursday began testing one of the incinerators, which had been repaired.
At the end of last year, there were about 66,000 cubic meters of waste being stored at the plant after nearly five years of decommissioning work following the March 2011 accident. That is enough to fill more than 100 swimming pools 25 meters in length.
The incinerators are expected to reduce the volume of waste by about 90 percent. The waste includes used disposable protective gear, clothing, sheets, cardboard and timber.
The operator says it expects to burn up to 14 tons of waste per day. But the resulting ash will have a higher concentration of radioactive materials than the waste has before it is burned.
TEPCO says filters installed in the smokestack will prevent the release of radioactive substances. The ash will be stored in drums inside a secure building.
Tokyo Electric Power said it will dispose of some four tons of waste in Thursday’s test. It said it will start testing the other incinerator on Sunday.
TEPCO begins burning radiation-tainted work clothes at Fukushima plant
OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–Tokyo Electric Power Co. has started to incinerate the thousands of boxes of lightly contaminated waste, including clothing used by workers, at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to reduce the amount of tainted waste on the site.
TEPCO, the plant operator, fired up a special on-site incinerator on Feb. 25 to burn protective suits, gloves, socks and other work clothes worn by plant workers that became contaminated with low-level radiation.
The operation will reduce the amount of tainted work clothing accumulating at the plant during decommissioning operations since the nuclear disaster unfurled in March 2011. The garments cannot be processed outside the plant due to the radiation.
The clothing being incinerated are items with the lowest levels of contamination that have been stored in tens of thousands of 1 cubic-meter special boxes. The number of containers reached 66,000 at the end of last year.
The incinerator is equipped with two types of filters that can reduce the radioactive levels of the exhaust air to less than one-millionth, while reducing the capacity of the waste to about 2 percent.
The incinerator can burn a maximum of 14 tons of items per day when it is operated to capacity for 24 hours. The ash residue will be stored in metallic barrels on the plant compound.
The incineration project was authorized by the Nuclear Regulation Authority in July 2014. TEPCO began operational tests of the incinerator using untainted waste last fall.