Nov 09, 2011

Decontamination Gel Used to Remediate Radiation in Fukushima-Affected Areas

Unique decontamination technology was applied at Japanese school and church

CBI Polymers Inc., the U.S.-based innovator of DeconGel nuclear decontaminant, announced the collaborative effort to remediate radiation from the campus of the Asahimachi Baptist Church and Little Lamb Kindergarten in Fukushima, Japan, in a project CBI Polymers calls “Restore Playtime.”

The company donated the nuclear decontaminant and the manpower to apply the blue gel to the affected areas of the school. Once dry, the gel was peeled away, taking harmful radiation with it.

Nuclear-decontaminant gel is unique compared to traditional decontamination solutions, which mostly consist of soap and water. Multiple laboratory tests and customer field deployments have demonstrated almost 100% decontamination of hazardous materials ranging from uranium and cesium to PCB oils and beryllium. The gel allows for waterless remediation, eliminating the environmental impact of liquid runoff and significantly reducing waste volume and disposal costs by up to 90%.   

The school’s headmistress, Tamiko Kokubo, was uncomfortable allowing her students to play outside for the past four and a half months because of the fear of radiation exposure from the fallout generated by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which suffered a catastrophic breach of its containment facilities after the March 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami. The release of radioactive isotopes into the atmosphere contaminated much of the surrounding area.

To protect her students from exposure to radioactive particles, Kokubo chose not to open the playground and outdoor surfaces to the children. While necessary for safety reasons, this closure of the outdoor facilities deprived the school’s preschool children and elementary level students of all outdoor activities, which are important to their physical development, as well as being one of the most enjoyable parts of their day.

On Aug. 1, 2011, CBI Polymers was selected for the U.S. Department of Commerce Export Achievement Award for its role in helping Hungary respond to its recent chemical spill disaster last year, and for its contribution to Japan’s earthquake and tsunami recovery efforts. The award recognizes U.S. companies who through the export services of the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service have expanded to new foreign markets.