U.S. Company’s Decontamination Technology Used to Remediate Fukushima School

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Students, teachers and CBI Polymers representatives in front of the Asahimachi Church in Fukushima.

HONOLULU (PRNewswire) — CBI Polymers Inc., the U.S.-based innovator of DeconGel nuclear decontaminant, announced Aug. 3 a collaborative effort to remediate radiation from the campus of the Asahimachi Baptist Church and Little Lamb Kindergarten in Fukushima, in a project CBI Polymers calls “Restore Playtime.”

CBI Polymers donated its DeconGel 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.

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

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 11 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 pre-school 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.

Kokubo observed, “Many of the fondest memories of childhood come from outdoor places and activities. This cleanup gives our children back their outdoor playtime, not only a basic joy but one critical to successful childhood development. We appreciate the work of CBI Polymers and the donation of DeconGel.”

Cham Dallas, Ph.D., a radiation mitigation expert and director of the Institute for Health Management and Mass Destruction Defense at the University of Georgia, oversaw the application of DeconGel and removal of radiation for the project. “DeconGel provides the unique capability to encapsulate radiation, making removal more efficient, while minimizing the opportunity for the radiation to spread,” Dallas said.

CBI Polymers initially provided assistance to Fukushima disaster relief with a donation of product and technical services, valued at $250,000. Individual stories, such as the plight of the Little Lamb Kindergarten, encouraged the company to become directly involved.

“We were pleased to be part of a project helping to create a safe place for children in the midst of the unprecedented disaster,” said Galen Ho, CEO of CBI Polymers. “We look forward to expanding the applicability of DeconGel. We believe it can further the remediation efforts and help to restore a sense of well-being for the people of Fukushima and other affected areas.”

On Aug. 1, CBI Polymers was selected for the U.S. Department of Commerce Export Achievement Award for its role in helping Hungary respond to its 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 into new foreign markets.

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