Japan nuke plant set to treat contaminated water

By the Associated Press | June 16, 2011 | 8:41 AM EDT

TOKYO (AP) — The operator of Japan's tsunami-hit nuclear plant is making final preparations to launch a crucial system to treat highly radioactive water that has hampered efforts to achieve the primary goal to cool and stabilize the damaged reactors.

More than 100,000 tons of radioactive water have pooled across the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, and it could overflow within a couple of weeks if action is not taken.

Operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said workers Thursday made final tests on a treatment system ahead of full operation planned for Friday. TEPCO plans to eventually reuse the water, some of it temporarily stored in tanks, as core coolant.

Three reactor cores melted after the March 11 tsunami knocked out power and destroyed critical cooling systems.