Kurion, Inc. has been awarded a contract by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to deliver a first-of-a-kind, at-tank mobile system to remove strontium from tank water at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Kurion has already delivered the first set of equipment to the plant’s staging area for inspection and plans to ship the balance of equipment in the coming weeks.Kurion expects that the system will be operational this summer.

"Today, strontium is the greatest emitter of radiation impacting site dose-rates. So, reducing strontium in tank water stored on-site will significantly improve worker safety and reduces the risk to the surrounding environment," said John Raymont, Kurion founder and president.

Under the contract, the Kurion Mobile Processing System, or KMPS, will be moved around the site and placed beside tank groups. The system is designed to help TEPCO reduce strontium (Sr) from the hundreds of tanks on-site that contain approximately 400,000 metric tons of water, a volume that is expanding at 400 tons per day.

It employs a similar modular plug-and-process design approach as has been used successfully since 2011 in the Kurion caesium adsorption system supplied in 2011 for the external reactor cooling and purification system, and supplemented with additional filtration capabilities. For the KMPS, Kurion uses a different proprietary, inorganic and easily vitrified ion-exchange media to separate strontium from competing, lower-risk contaminants also present in the water.

Bill Gallo, Kurion CEO, said: "Since Kurion started working with TEPCO in 2011, we have grown our team by more than tenfold and expanded our technologies and services to provide the scale and breadth of solutions needed for Fukushima and other nuclear and hazardous waste challenges worldwide."

While the Kurion system and the growing number of Multi-nuclide Removal Equipment (ALPS) both process tank water, the goals of the new system are much more limited in scope. This mobile, at-tank system is intended to accelerate improvement of safety at the site by focusing on strontium reduction while additional ALPS are developed. The contract requires that Kurion move rapidly to establish a system that can process up to 300 tons of water per day with more systems possible. Due to the high variability in water contaminant content across the hundreds of tanks, Kurion will work with TEPCO to implement Kaizen principles to constantly improve the system’s operations and performance.

Photo: Kurion Mobile Processing System