Areva SA has promised to remove up to 99.99 percent of the radioactive contaminants in 67,500 tons of water flooding the crippled Fukushima-Dai-ichi nuclear plant. It will use a co-precipitation method employed at its La Hague nuclear fuel reprocessing facility in Normandy.
That process has been documented in detail by a French nuclear expert and by the U.S. government, which has shunned France’s fuel reprocessing method because of “a nonproliferation concern and environmental concerns,” in the words of Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko.
The water treatment process has been deplored by environmental groups including Greenpeace and Physicians for Social Responsibility in part because of the quality of cleaned water it produces:
France reprocesses reactor fuel at the vast La Hague facility on the Normandyhttp://blogs.forbes.com/jeffmcmahon/2011/04/25/french-plan-to-clean-fukushimas-radioactive-water-detailed-including-risks/
coast. The so-called low-level liquid wastes from reprocessing are discharged
into the English Channel and into the air. However, these “low-level” wastes
still contain highly radioactive and often long-lived isotopes. Dumping these
same wastes into the sea in containers would violate the 1970 London Dumping
[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, April 29th, 2011.]