TOKYO, June 17 (UPI) -- A system aimed at cleansing water of oil and radioactive elements from contaminated water began operating Friday at Japan's crippled Fukushima power plant.
Tokyo Electric Power, which operates the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, speeded up construction of the system, The New York Times reported. It was originally set to begin its work in July.
Junichi Matsumoto, a Tepco spokesman, said the system can process about 1,200 tons of water a day. He said the water will be stored and some will be used for reactor cooling, so more water is not contaminated.
The system, which cost $663 million, had a number of last-minute problems, forcing Tepco to delay the start from Thursday to Friday.
"It is something like a chemical plant constructed in a rush, so we have to go by trial and error," said Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director general of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. "We had to do this in a hurry, so conditions have been very severe."
The plant was damaged by the Tohoku earthquake on March 11.