Laker TRF Ltd, an affiliate of Canada’s Laker Energy Products, believes its Advanced Water Distillation (AWD) technology could provide "cost-effective and reliable" detritiation for light water applications, such as contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and fusion power reactors, such as ITER.
The technology was originally developed for pressurised heavy water reactors. However, a test plant in Oakville, Ontario has been in operation for a year and has shown the detritiation of light water using AWD to be five times as efficient as that of heavy water. A multi-column demonstration plant is to be built in 2020.
Laker said its AWD technology uses the latest in water distillation equipment design and configuration. In testing has already achieved a five-fold equipment height reduction and 80% energy consumption reduction over conventional water distillation, Laker added.
The process operates under benign conditions of purified warm water under vacuum, which eliminates the chance of leakage and associated environmental emissions. Laker believes the technology would be suitable for the detritiation of water stored at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan, where large volumes of water contaminated treated by ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System) removes most of the radioactivity from water but still leaves tritium.
According to Laker, its AWD technology could reduce the tritium concentrations to below naturally occurring rainwater levels, enabling safe release into the ocean. An AWD plant constructed at the Fukushima Daiichi site would also be capable of supplying the entire global demand of the stable medical radioisotope oxygen-18, which is produced as a by-product of the process. Oxygen-18 is used as a precursor chemical for positron emission topography scans.