One of the worst disasters of our time, the March 2011 nuclear meltdown at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power station created -- among other ecological disasters -- an estimated 260,000 tons of contaminated, radioactive water now in storage tanks at the complex.
To put that in perspective, 260,000 tons is 520 million pounds. Or 62.4 million gallons. That's enough water to fill 65 Olympic-size swimming pools.
If those numbers sound big, then get a load of this next one: On Wednesday, American industrial conglomerate Honeywell (NYSE:HON) reported in a press release that through use of its UOP IONSIV Selective Media adsorbent materials, clean-up contractors Toshiba and Chicago Bridge & Iron's Shaw Global Services have been able to decontaminate 100 million gallons of radioactive water from the complex since August 2011.
Honeywell describes the adsorbents in question as "crystalline materials designed to selectively remove radioactive ions, particularly cesium and strontium, from liquids." According to the company, use of IONSIV as part of the clean-up contractors' Simplified Active Water Retrieve and Recovery System (SARRY) has successfully reduced levels of radioactive cesium in the water to below-detectable levels.
IONSIV adsorbents are expected to remain in use for the next 10 years to remove cesium and strontium from various contaminated water sources at Fukushima.