Kurion, Inc, supplier of ion-exchange resins and decontamination systems, has opened an office in Tokyo to facilitate the company’s growing role in the cleanup at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The new office will be located in the Shimbashi district of Tokyo, within easy walking distance of the respective headquarters of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (METI) and the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID).

Kurion was part of an international team of leading nuclear waste management companies that delivered an external reactor cooling system for the Fukushima Daiichi site. This system remains in operation today. It also has been involved with treatment of contaminated wastewater on site.

In February 2014 Kurion acquired Vista Engineering Technologies, which is developing two remote manipulators for the respective inspection and repair of leaks within the Primary Containment Vessel (PCV) of reactor 2 at the Fukushima plant through a contract with Japanese industry leader IHI Corporation. The inspection manipulator will be delivered to the site in May 2014, and the repair manipulator is in the design stages. Kurion has also presented a variety of technologies to address other challenges at the site.

Founded in 2008, Kurion is backed by leading energy investors Lux Capital, Firelake Capital Management and Acadia Woods Partners. Headquartered in Irvine, California, Kurion operates a technology development center at its radioactive materials licensed facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; a detritiation testing facility in Houston, Texas; three facilities in Richland, Washington, for non-radioactive demonstration testing, engineering and storage of mobile systems; an office in Loveland, Colorado for engineering design and development.

In September 2013, the company launched a modular system to remove tritium from water. It said that the industrial process of removing tritium from water has historically focused on cleaning highly contaminated "heavy water" for recycling back into nuclear reactors, such as for the CANDU design. However, this technology is prohibitively expensive for use with light water reactors. The Kurion MDS builds upon proven heavy water solutions and makes advances in throughput and efficiency where the tritium removal occurs.

Photo: System diagram depicts Kurion’s water treatment system at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant in June 2011 (Source: Kurion Inc).