Fukushima Underground Zeolite Wall Explained

TEPCO and the team of contractors that worked on the underground zeolite wall have released more detail about the validation process for the project.

A pairing of materials was used in the underground bundles installed downstream from the leaking water tanks. Apatite and clinoptilolite ( a type of zeolite) were combined along with some crushed rock to achieve what they think will be a better filtration of the strontium 90 in the ground water. Clinoptilolite was used at the West Valley nuclear site in New York state. Apatite has been used at Hanford nuclear site as a groundwater filtration medium. Clinoptilolite was our suggestion in our concept submission to IRID to install the underground zeolite wall.

Laboratory analysis was done on the substances vs. various conditions they assumed would be in play at Daiichi. They tested various materials and found that a type of apatite made from pig bones worked well and was readily available. The variety of clinoptilolite used was found in Japan as a natural substance. The filter media was then tested with both distilled water and a mock up of the groundwater based on known composition of that.

zeolite_materialsThe material mixture is expected to work for about 10 years before it might need replacement, based on lab tests.
Additional information is available in English in this reports.
http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2014/images/handouts_140911_05-e.pdf

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