Tokyo Electric launched its much-hyped water filtration system yesterday at its foundering Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant—only to shut it down a mere five hours later. The setback is very serious, notes the New York Times, with Tepco in grave danger of running out of room for the tens of thousands of tons of contaminated water that have been used to cool the plant's reactors. Overflow could come within days, and though the company is rushing in holding tanks, it has not discussed a backup plan for its filtration system.
Workers shut the system down when Cesium levels hit a point indicating a filter change was needed; that point hadn't been expected for a month's time. Tepco vowed to get the filtration system back up and running as soon as possible. Some experts believe the power company will again find itself forced to dump contaminated water into the ocean. (Read more Fukushima Dai-ichi stories.)