Success Story

Radioactive Seawater in Fukushima Cleaned with CSTs

When the 2011 tsunami struck the Japanese Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, it contaminated seawater with radioactive cesium. It was quickly determined that Sandia National Laboratories’ crystalline silico-titanates (CSTs) would be an excellent material for removing cesium from contaminated seawater that was used to cool the plant’s reactors. Sandia and its corporate partner UOP, a Honeywell company, worked around the clock to license and deploy the technology in Japan, where it continues to be used to clean up cesium contaminated seawater at the Fukushima power plant.

The technology transfer of the CST technology to Honeywell UOP has led to more collaboration with Sandia such as a work-for-others agreement with UOP to access a second Sandia material for radioactive cleanup. Honeywell UOP has also recently announced an investment of $20 million to expand its production facility to produce adsorbents and catalysts, including CSTs.

CSTs are synthetic zeolites designed by Sandia scientists to selectively capture radioactive cesium and other group I metals. Honeywell UOP holds an exclusive license for the use of CSTs in the field of radiation waste applications. Honeywell UOP has put the CSTs in its IONSIV™ Selective Media product line and is using them in the effort to clean up the Fukushima power plant.

This technology received two awards from the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC):

• 2013 National Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer

• 2012 Mid-Continent Region Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer

To date, CSTs have been used to clean up more than 85 million gallons of cesium contaminated water at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.