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Japan Looks To Richland-Made Filters To Treat Radioactive Water

Anna King
John Raymont, founder and president of Kurion, stands inside one of his company’s containerized mobile strontium filter units.";

Japan’s crippled nuclear plant is bleeding hazardous radioactive water at a mind-staggering rate. Officials at Fukushima Daiichi are filling 27-foot-tall tanks nearly every other day. Now, in southeast Washington, a company called Kurion is developing and building a mobile filter system to help deal with that troublesome radioactive wastewater.

The filtration system looks like five large shipping containers — except they’re awfully shiny and have a lot of high-tech whiz-bang pipes, electronics and tanks inside.

It’s sort of like a supersized Brita. The systems will filter about 79,000 gallons of water per day targeting radioactive strontium.

Strontium is nasty stuff, and workers on the Fukushima site face exposure to it right now.

John Raymont, the founder of Kurion, hopes that soon his company will contract with the federal government to use this technology right here in the Northwest.

"This is going to demonstrate for them in real world, in real time whether or not this technology really works and give them a real opportunity to think about whether they can deploy the same concept for the tank farm here at Hanford," Raymont said.

This filter system for Japan won’t clean up the water totally. But most of the highly radioactive stuff will be taken out.

Kurion was founded in 2008, and has operations around the world. Recently it added about 100 engineers and workers here in Richland to design the filter.

This system will be demonstrated here for a Japanese nuclear delegation in early July, right before it’s put on a gigantic airplane.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.