Falling levels of seawater contamination and testing for a new water treatment system at Fukushima Daiichi highlighted the news from Japan this week.Recent developments related to the Tokyo Electric Power Co. reactors severely damaged in 2011 include:Seawater Radiation Continues to FallThe level of radioactive contamination within Fukushima Daiichi's manmade harbor continues to fall steadily, with cesium now below regulatory limits. Strontium is also below a 30 becquerel per liter national limit in all testing locations except those closest to the reactors, which show concentrations at 70 to 100 BqL. In a release Sept. 12, TEPCO said levels of strontium-90 in the harbor had fallen by roughly two-thirds in the last year, and levels of cesium-137 had been reduced by about 90 percent. Additionally, the company noted that testing confirmed by third parties showed that contamination levels outside the harbor fell well below the World Health Organization drinking water limit of 10 becquerels per liter for cesium and strontium.Enhanced ALPS System Begins TestingOn Wednesday, TEPCO announced that it has begun testing a new multi-nuclide water treatment system. The first of three enhanced ALPS units was placed in service, with two additional units expected to start in the coming weeks. Once they are all fully functional, the system will double the plant's treatment capacity to 1,500 metric tons per day, according to a release from the company. The new design incorporates rubber linings to prevent erosion, enhanced leak barriers and improvements to systems for monitoring water flow and detecting leaks. Meanwhile, a third generation of the ALPS system is slated for testing next month. The Asahi Shimbun quoted TEPCO officials as saying it will increase treatment capacity by another 500 metric tons per day.
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