What is ALPS?

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) and a variety of partners have been working on removing contaminants from the water at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, using a complex water filtration system called the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS). At best, ALPS is able to remove “62 different types of radioactive pollution, including strontium and cobalt from contaminated water. It doesn’t extract tritium, which is considered one of the less dangerous radioactive elements for humans. The three lines of the ALPS system have the capacity to treat up to 1,500 metric tons of contaminated water every day.”

But the system is not yet up to the task. The International Atomic Energy Agency said in April that the system still had not “accomplished the expected result of removing some radionuclides” in tests, and noted TEPCO needed to develop long-term storage plans for waste created by treating water.

Reuters has published a rundown of the features and problems of the current system.