Fukushima’s 2nd complex for treating radioactive waste launched in Kawauchi village

The central government launched a temporary complex of facilities designed to destroy by thermal treatment radioactive waste from cleanup work associated with the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Nov. 26 in Kawauchi village, Fukushima Prefecture. Built by the Environment Ministry in the Shimokawauchi district, the complex is the first state-run facility in Futaba County and the second in the prefecture, following the one in the Komiya district of Iitate village. The complex disposes of waste and debris from wrecked houses in a highly contaminated zone in the village by subjecting them to thermal decomposition in the absence of oxygen. After a trial operation in December, it will get into full swing in January. An estimated total of 1,700 tons will be treated during its scheduled one-year operation until January 2016, when work will begin to dismantle and remove the complex. Capable of treating 7 tons a day, it will operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. The total cost of the project will be about 3 billion yen. The complex stands on a village-owned 7,400-square-meter tract of land. It comprises a waste-accepting yard, an incinerator, an ash-discharging room and an ash storage facility. Waste and debris are crushed in the yard and subjected to a high temperature of more than 800 C for complete destruction. Exhaust gas is let through a two-stage process for the removal of radioactive cesium and released from a chimney after its safety is confirmed. The central government is scheduled to complete similar disposal facilities in Minamisoma city, Tomioka town and Katsurao village between March and April next year. Construction is under way in Namie town and preparatory work has started in the Warabidaira district of Iitate village. (Translated by Kyodo News)