The waste building at Fukushima Daiichi, also known as the “process main building” was implemented to hold highly contaminated water from the reactor buildings soon after the initial meltdowns. TEPCO used the existing structures in this building to hold contaminated water and various decontamination sludges.
The “granulated solidified tank” D currently holds some of this radioactive sludge. As part of ongoing work to reduce the risk of problems in the event of another tsunami hitting the plant, this tank is scheduled to be emptied. The sludge will be put into storage containers and moved to higher ground.
An elaborate system has been created to extract the sludge and remove as much moisture as possible before each sludge storage container is moved to storage up on the hill.
Radiation levels in the area where a hole will be cut in the waste building outer wall were found to have moderate levels of radioactive contamination. Negative air pressure and other tactics will be used to try to reduce the dispersal of contamination during the work. A HEPA filter exhaust system will be implemented to reduce the potential of a hydrogen explosion during the extraction work. The sludge extraction platform will include various methods to attempt to seal it to prevent contaminated dust leaks.
TEPCO has a detailed schedule with construction work going into 2023. The first sludge extraction is currently planned for mid-year 2023. TEPCO did not characterize the sludge but with the high level of precautions being planned and the nature of the sludge, it would be a likely assumption that fuel particles are contained within the sludge.
Translated TEPCO document:
Original TEPCO document in Japanese:
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