Tokyo: Japan`s TEPCO said it started
on Sunday pumping in decontaminated runoff water to cool reactors
at its crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant, a key step towards
stabilising the tsunami-hit nuclear site.
The effort to recycle water back into reactors at the
power plant had been delayed due to problems with the
treatment system used to decontaminate liquid that has
accumulated during the three-month effort to contain the
The new system, which uses French and US technology,
decontaminates the water, which is then pumped into cool
reactor cores to prevent dangerous rises in temperature.
The water was pumped into reactors 1, 2 and 3 on
"At 16:20 (0720 GMT) we started the system to
circulate (cleaned) water" at three reactors at the Fukushima
plant, a spokesman at Tokyo Electric Power Co said.
The development would help the company meet its goal
of bringing the reactors to safe shutdowns by January 2012 at
the latest, he said.
Up until today, water to cool reactors had to be
brought in from outside the plant.
The water is irradiated as soon as it is injected into
the damaged reactors as it comes in contact with melted
reactor cores, which are emitting high levels of radiation.
TEPCO needs to decontaminate more than 100,000 tonnes
of highly radioactive water that has built up during reactor
cooling operations and prevented workers from accessing areas
of the plant to make repairs.
Highly radioactive water has spilled into the ocean
since the plant was crippled in the March 11 disaster, causing
an uproar from the local fishing industry as well as
neighbouring countries including China and South Korea.
The 9.0 magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that
smashed into the Fukushima plant and knocked out reactor
cooling systems, triggering meltdowns, explosions and
radiation leaks in the world`s worst nuclear accident since
Chernobyl in 1986.