Aug 17 (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co said it has started testing a new radioactive water processing instrument on Tuesday at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, but the utility’s goal of achieving a cold shutdown in the October-January period is looking uncertain, the Nikkei business daily reported.
Efforts to decontaminate highly radioactive water have been delayed by repeated breakdowns of the cesium adsorption instrument, the paper said.
The test run of Toshiba Corp’s cesium adsorption instrument, known as Sarry, is being carried out by running water with low-level radiation through equipment from French nuclear firm Areva SA and U.S. nuclear waste management company Kurion Inc, the daily said.
With only an estimated 42,000 tons of highly contaminated water having been processed by Aug. 9, roughly 120,000 tons are still left in the basement in turbine buildings and elsewhere, the Nikkei said.
Tokyo Electric, or Tepco, had set a goal of processing 200,000 tons by year-end since more water will be contaminated in the process of bringing the damaged reactors under control, but recently admitted that its projection was too optimistic, the paper said.
“The plan will probably be delayed a little bit,” said Junichi Matsumoto, the Nikkei said quoting a Tepco spokesperson on nuclear issues.
Sarry is relatively easy to maintain because it has fewer pumps, whose breakdowns were a major reason for delays. But even if the system’s overall operating rate holds steady at 90 percent, no more than 195,000 tons will likely be processed this year, the daily reported.
Tepco’s goals were too ambitious, the Nikkei quoted Areva Japan President Remy Autebert as saying. (Reporting by Divya Lad in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)