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Is it feasible to use polymer absorbent material (sap) for nuclear sewage in Japan?

Aug 29th,2023

The feasibility of using high-molecular-weight superabsorbent polymer (SAP) for managing radioactive wastewater in Japan is a complex and sensitive issue. The Japanese government has been planning to release treated radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean. Using SAP as part of the treatment process is a potential option. Here are some key points to consider regarding the feasibility:


1. SAP's Water Absorption Capacity:

SAP is known for its exceptional water absorption capacity. It can absorb many times its weight in water, which is a useful characteristic for managing large volumes of wastewater.

2. Solidification of Radioactive Particles:

SAP can help immobilize and solidify radioactive particles present in the wastewater. This can reduce the risk of dispersion and contamination during storage or disposal.

3. Treatment Process Complexity:

Using SAP in the treatment process adds complexity and cost. It requires careful planning, monitoring, and maintenance to ensure the effectiveness of SAP in retaining radioactive contaminants.

4. Environmental and Safety Concerns:

The use of SAP must be thoroughly evaluated for potential environmental and safety risks. Any unintended consequences, such as the release of SAP into the ocean, need to be prevented.

5. Regulatory Approvals:

Implementing SAP as part of the treatment process would require regulatory approvals and compliance with national and international guidelines and standards.

6. Public Perception:

Public perception and acceptance of using SAP in the treatment of radioactive wastewater are essential considerations. Transparency and clear communication with the public are crucial to address concerns and build trust.

7. Long-Term Stability:

The long-term stability of SAP in a radioactive environment needs to be assessed. SAP must not degrade or release harmful substances over time.

8. Alternative Treatment Technologies:

Other treatment technologies, such as advanced filtration, ion exchange, and adsorption, should also be considered and compared with SAP in terms of efficiency, safety, and cost-effectiveness.


While SAP has properties that make it potentially useful in managing radioactive wastewater, its feasibility in the context of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant's treated wastewater release must be carefully evaluated. This evaluation should consider technical, environmental, safety, regulatory, and public perception aspects. Ultimately, any decision regarding the use of SAP or other treatment methods should prioritize the protection of public health and the environment.

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