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Radioactive Water Buildup Grows as 'Decontamination' System at Fukushima Fails Again

Riddled with problems since the beginning, TEPCO has called this system "key" to its clean-up strategy

by
Sarah Lazare, staff writer

At the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant, a defect has again forced the shutdown of the decontamination system that is central to the radioactive water cleanup strategy, owner Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced Tuesday.

According to TEPCO, the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) — designed to decontaminate the water used to cool melted reactors — was turned off after leaks were discovered by workers Monday night, Al Jazeera America reports.

At the time of the suspension, the cleaning system had just been restarted after being shut down for nearly a week, due to a glitch, Jiji news network reports. Just one example of the highly-criticized clean-up operation, this system has worked inconsisently since operations began a year ago, AFP reports.

The latest shutdown is a major blow to TEPCO's stated strategy, which "regards ALPS as a key facility to deal with contaminated water at the plant," according to Jiji.

The incident comes as the facility continues to produce huge volumes of radioactive water, with 436,000 cubic meters of contaminated water currently being stored in approximately 1,200 tanks — an amount that is constantly growing, according to AFP.

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