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Leaking acid causes stop-work at Fukushima clean-up

text-Fukushima-2013-1Fukushima nuclear reactor clean-up unit hit by acid leak STAFF WRITERS AFP DECEMBER 02, 2013 THE trouble-prone system used to decontaminate radioactive water at safety-symbol-SmJapan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant was switched off yesterday because of a chemical leak, the plant’s operator said.

Hydrochloric acid, used to neutralise the alkaline water being decontaminated, was found seeping from a pipe joint, the Tokyo Electric Power Co said.

The joint was wrapped in a vinyl bag to contain the leakage, TEPCO said, and the company was investigating the cause. About a litre of hydrochloric acid had been contained in the bag. The leak was found at one of three Advanced Liquid Processing System units designed to remove radioactivity from contaminated water at the plant, where a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 sent the nuclear reactors into meltdown.

The systems are expected to play a crucial role in treating the huge amounts of toxic water accumulating at the plant. The troubled system was one of two units that had been in trial operation and were due to go into full operation yesterday.

In late September, plastic padding clogged up a drain in the same system, causing it to shut down. In October, it was halted due to a programming mistake.

Thousands of tonnes of water, used since the meltdown to cool reactors or polluted by other radioactive material, are being stored in huge tanks at the site on Japan’s northeast coast.

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December 2, 2013 - Posted by | Fukushima 2013, incidents, Japan

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