Toshiba invents device it claims can decontaminate radioactive soil

TOKYO —

Toshiba Corp says it has developed a revolutionary new technology designed to decontaminate radioactive soil from the area surrounding the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The technology was originally designed to purify radioactive water at the nuclear power plant, but its developers say it also removes 97% of cesium from radioactive soil.

Toshiba said in a statement that the device is currently capable of dealing with 1.7 tons of radioactive soil per day, but it is theoretically possible for a machine capable of processing 100 times that amount. The device uses crystalline adsorbents that have the ability to selectivity remove radioactive ions from liquids, soil and waste. 

Toshiba also claims that the machine is capable of decontaminating radioactive ash from garbage incineration plants. The company hopes it will provide a nationwide solution to the problem of dealing with radioactive materials. 

TBS reported that Toshiba plans to hold training conferences nationwide from next month to ensure that local governments and other associations across the country are able to properly operate the machinery.

Japan Today

  • 0

    globalwatcher

    Wow! If this is true, this is a god sent technology to save Japan. Hope it works. I would like to read more about it before making any comment.

  • 1

    some14some

    Toshiba plans to hold training conferences nationwide from next month to ensure that local governments and other associations across the country are able to properly operate the machinery.

    better invite international monitors as well.

  • 1

    Utrack

    excellent news. 97% removal.. hit the farmlands with this machine too.

  • 0

    oginome

    Japanese ingenuity at its finest if it's true. The Japanese always seem to find a way, after the Kobe earthquake, people laughed at the claims of the nation being 'earthquake' proof, but how many buildings fell 16 years later in the much stronger Tohoku earthquake? Yes, building the Fukushima reactor beside the sea in a geologically volatile area was foolishness, but if this technology ends up working, at least some good would have come out of this whole mess.

  • 2

    globalwatcher

    Does anyone have the website on this invention in regards to "elementary particle" removal?

    How would it be possible? If so, there is no doubt this is going to be a Nobel prize material. Would you kindly list the website for me to read? This is absolutely blowing my mind! There is a hope and future for Japan after all.

  • 1

    Foxie

    That's the best news for this year and it comes on the last day of the year. This could not only save Japan but also Chernobyl. This would also mean that we don't have to worry about nuclear accidents in the future and we can continue using our cheap electricity. Toshiba really made a milestone in the history of this planet with this invention. Looking forward to reading more about it.

  • 0

    proxy

    Good for Toshiba; make money building the reactors and more money cleaning up.

  • 2

    Utrack

    The Ukraine should buy like 10 of these machines and Europe also. These is a very good invention. It reminds me of the first machine to decontamined the radioactive water from the reactors that the French sent over for Daiichi.

  • 1

    SamuraiBlue

    Sounds like it was a waste of time for Starblazers (Uchu Senkan Yamato) to go another galaxy to gain the Cosmo-Cleaner D when Toshiba is able to develop one on their own. LOL

  • 5

    smartacus

    It will be great if it really works. That's the wonderful thing about science and technology. Innovations are always coming along. Even the fears that areas around the Fukushima plant will be radioactive for decades may not come to pass -- if some new technology is developed that speeds up decontamination. Just think of all the technological innovations in our daily lives today that no one could ever of dreamed of 20 years ago. When I was a child, the Internet, email and cell phones were unimaginable.

    Good luck Toshiba.

  • -1

    Virtuoso

    Don't get your hopes too high -- mankind's ability to pollute and destroy the environment will always remain several steps ahead of any purported technological solutions.

  • 0

    globalwatcher

    I believe the topic states this is an INVENTION, not innovation. There are a big difference between the two per webster dictionary listed below:

    Invention is the first occurrence of an idea for a new product or process while innovation is the first attempt to carry it out into practice.”

  • -1

    m5c32

    If this isn't pie-in-the-sky and actually works to some significant fidelity with regard to the claims, Toshiba should be asked, if it hasn't volunteered, to license the technology to other mfgs at once. I mean, it's great that they developed it, but for this kind of disaster any licensing fees should be waived with provisions such that only for this disaster and no other use.

  • 1

    globalwatcher

    Yep, it is very important to get it patented PRONTO!!

  • -1

    Sioux Chef

    I believe the topic states this is an INVENTION, not innovation. There are a big difference between the two per webster dictionary listed below:

    Hmmm . . . Merriam-Webster seems to disagree with you:

    Innovation 1. : the introduction of something new 2. : a new idea, method, or device: NOVELTY

    . . . as does the OED, apparently:

    noun [mass noun] the action or process of innovating: innovation is crucial to the continuing success of any organization [count noun] a new method, idea, product, etc.: technological innovations designed to save energy

    • Moderator

      Back on topic please.

  • 0

    wtfjapan

    1.7 tons per day ok that will take around 1000years to do all the soil around fukushima, and the most important how expensive will it be? too expensive then it would be cheaper just to abandon the farmland and relocate to a unaffected area.

  • 2

    zichi

    There are more than 20 million tons of contaminated soil.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    Even though this machine can purportedly remove the radiation from the soil my question is this, what happens then to all the material removed from the soil?

    Does this machine destroy the radioactive particles or do they become a by product of the removal process?

  • 0

    oginome

    This story doesn't really have seem to hit the web outside this website and a few others. Strange.

  • 1

    m5c32

    Does this machine destroy the radioactive particles or do they become a by product of the removal process?

    One doesn't "destroy" radioactivity. It (radioactive material) can only be contained, once sequestered. Something like they do with depleted fuel rods.

  • 6

    MissouriUSA

    Actually the science to electrokinetically remove radioactive isotopes has existed for a few decades. It's more a matter of scale that makes Toshiba's device interesting. Thru the pouring acid/base chemicals into collected/contained soil, electric anode rods help draw out the electrically charged 'radioactive' particles. Remove the radiation, remove and neutralize the electrolyte solution, and restore the soil. My mind cannot picture doing more than a drum or two of soil at a time, but it's very much possible. If anyone can do it, I have great faith in the science and mechanical prowess of Japanese engineers.

  • -2

    Cricky

    Excuse my skepticism but "if" this is so, why has this not, as it should be hailed around the world?

    Check the wording, might be a hope and not a fix? Would love it to be true but time will tell.

  • 0

    KariHaruka

    If this does work then thats great news! I've got my fingers crossed that it does.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    Hope it's true! Would like to read more about how it does this, and how thoroughly it's been tested.

  • 0

    Disillusioned

    OK, so they have a machine that removes cesium, but what do they do with cesium after they have it? Store it with the 4,000 tons of rice?

  • 0

    billyshears

    One doesn't "destroy" radioactivity. It (radioactive material) can only be contained, once sequestered. Something like they do with depleted fuel rods.

    Apparently, cesium can be destroyed by bacteria. Check out the following link:

    http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/cf/402vysotskii.html

  • 0

    blue_monday

    Apparently, cesium can be destroyed by bacteria. Check out the following link:

    But what does the bacteria mutate into ?

  • 0

    blue_monday

    zichiDEC. 31, 2011 - 12:12PM JST There are more than 20 million tons of contaminated soil.

    So they build a bigger machine

  • 0

    billyshears

    It seems the cost for the operation of the machinery is "several million yen a day".

    http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201112270042

  • 0

    CrazyJoe

    The device is called SARRY-Soil. This is the mobile version of "Long Tall SARRY" in Fukushima I nuke plant. According to Toshiba, SARRY stands for "Simplified Active Water Retrieve and Recovery System".

  • 0

    WilliB

    billyshears:

    " Apparently, cesium can be destroyed by bacteria. Check out the following link: http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/cf/402vysotskii.html "

    That makes absolutely no sense at all. Your link must an april fools´ joke.

  • 0

    WilliB

    disillusioned:

    " OK, so they have a machine that removes cesium, but what do they do with cesium after they have it? Store it with the 4,000 tons of rice? "

    It is about concentration. If they can extract the radiactive cesium, it will be a tiny volume and can easily be stored at an existing nuclear waste storage site.

  • -1

    JapanGal

    True for ssway. My question too....and...

    Remember when Cold Fusion was claimed? I read about that silly thing.

  • 0

    oberst

    Why not decontaminate all those Fukushima radiation rice FIRST as a test ?

  • 1

    YongYang

    97% in a crystalline form to be deposited where? But, all the same, 97%. Holy cow, that's good.

  • 0

    warnerbro

    The most that can be done is to remove the radioactive substances from the soil. The substances themselves will not cease to exist and must be kept somewhere, somehow. If the government continues its current policies, it will throw them into Tokyo Bay and cast them throughout the nation.

  • 0

    Utrack

    device uses crystalline adsorbents that have the ability to selectivity remove radioactive ions

    Can't these crystalline absorbents be used for fast breeder reactors just like the recycled spent fuel rods ?

  • -1

    unreconstructed

    I hope this works. It would be one more example vindicating economists and theorists like Julian Simon.

  • 0

    WilliB

    Utrack:

    " Can't these crystalline absorbents be used for fast breeder reactors just like the recycled spent fuel rods ? "

    No.

  • 0

    Utrack

    OH.. well I guess they just get stored away as is then. But at least it would take up less space then the article it decontaminates.

  • 0

    Cos

    I'm sure that will work.... I mean selling the machines seems a great business for Toshiba. It's good news that such machines exist and they can be useful for small surfaces, in what they call hot spots. Around Fukushima, with the amounts they would need to decontaminate, that's surely not the miracle solution. What would that cost ? Is it worth it ?

  • 0

    YongYang

    And all of this could have been averted IF, as I wrote from day one and as has been vindicated by the recent report about the disaster TEPCO had done it's job of not living in self-imposed fantasy land of, 'We couldn't imagine it'. THat, its supporters and TEPCO for 'hiding ' behind that fallacy has been totally discredited for the nonsense it was. Now we need brilliant minds to create processes such as developed here, thank someone we're not ALL stupid. Well done Toshiba. Go to hell TEPCO and its supporters.

  • 1

    sensei258

    zichi's right, do the math, it'll take about 3,000 years to decon all the soil, unless they use thousands of machines, or some REALLY big ones. The cesium's half life is what? It will decon itself before this plan works

  • 0

    Utrack

    YongYang's comment reminded me of The Clash song straight to hell. TEPCO is something aren't they.. I hope Toshiba's invention can fix some of the damage.

  • 1

    Ramires Bourguignon Ferreira

    For this, Toshiba deserves an applause!

  • 0

    NopeNopeNope

    Wow, a site with 100% shills on it. This technology, if it works at all, will do VERY LITTLE to change the situation. 1) too much dirt, and you have to dig it all up - not feasible 2) where do the hot particles/isotopes go? In the ocean? 3) it will do nothing to stop the accumulation of isotopes up the food chain.

    Japan has poisoned itself and the entire world with its mismanagement of cover-up of the disaster (with the support of the US & other governments, plus the GE-owned media blackout in the US of the situation).

    There is no greater shame than the ongoing coverup that the Japanese government and Tepco are perpetuating. It is an absolute crime against the human species. This is a pivotal moment for the Japanese people to rise up for what is right. Otherwise its people (and their false beliefs) are just colluding with the government and industry to bring greater harm upon the world.

    There's no magic soil decontamination machine. It won't fix the problem. Stop pretending it will. We're not that stupid.

  • 0

    Utrack

    the device is currently capable of dealing with 1.7 tons of radioactive soil per day, but it is theoretically possible for a machine capable of processing 100 times that amount.

    Well, I'm no math wiz but it's possible if each of these machines could clean a 100 tons of radioactive a day. There is 20 Million tons to be cleaned so 10 machines operating a full capacity can do it in 54 years or 20 machines can clean 20 million tons in 27 years. that's something at least

  • 0

    Hide Suzuki

    @NopeNopeNope

    Great positive attitude, I'm glad Toshiba has employees who are positive and actually produce something usefull than leaving negative comments on JT.

    I'm sure your negative attitude will change the world for better more than this Toshiba invention :)

  • -2

    WilliB

    YongYong:

    " And all of this could have been averted IF, as I wrote from day one and as has been vindicated by the recent report about the disaster "

    Come again? All you did from the beginning was to scream endlessly "bury it". Your so-called solution would have made things worse not better, and you have not been "vindicated" by any means. Get real.

    The Toshiba technology sounds like a clever design, and I hope they make it work.

  • 1

    Jerome_from_Utah

    There are a couple of Pacific islands that could use this device, too, if it works. The fish are OK around Eniwetok but the coconuts are loaded with Cesium which looks like Potassium to the palm tree. By the way, this suggests a test of the method. Find a fast growing fruit that is known for being a good source of Potassium and use that to find out if it uptakes Cesium from the treated soil.

  • 1

    bajhista65

    That's very good news for 2012 first day. What is the JGov waiting for. Deploy the machines ASAP.

  • 0

    bajhista65

    @Globewatcher....... Innovation differs from invention in that innovation refers to the use of a new idea or method, whereas invention refers more directly to the creation of the idea or method itself. In simple term, any alteration to improve the invention is INNOVATION. Toshiba OMEDETTO for the invention. Looking forward to be use asap.

  • 0

    Bettingurlife

    97%...what of the remaining 3%?

    There will be some mountainous areas and other areas that are equally difficult (or maybe impossible) to find/get to.

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