Regional Environmental Preservation
Management and Detoxification of PCB
Management and Detoxification of PCB
Short History of PCB-Related Problems
Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), as an oil that has superior insulation and incombustibility properties, had been widely used until around 1965 as insulating oil for electric equipment and other purposes. However, after its effects on living bodies and environment were pointed out with the occurrence of "Kanemi Rice-Bran Cooking Oil Poisoning" in 1968, the production of PCB was ceased in 1972 and its manufacture, import, and use of PCB were prohibited in 1974.
Though after that it became an obligation to strictly store the equipment using PCB, the long term storage over thirty years has raised concern about potential environmental pollution due to loss of equipment and PCB leakage, calling for urgent need for the development of a system and the promotion of prompt treatment.
Consequently, in July 2001, "Law Concerning Special Measures for Promotion of Proper Treatment of PCB Waste" (the "Law Concerning Special PCB Measures") came into force and detoxification of PCB was to be promoted by the collective efforts of all of the central and local governments and companies.
Storage and Management Status of PCB Equipment
We notify the regulatory authorities controlling storage places such as the prefectural governors every year of the storage and other status of PCB equipment in our possession, under the Law Concerning Special PCB Measures.
The equipment in storage is properly managed within our facilities under the provisions of the Law while the equipment in use is also ensured to have no impact on the surrounding environment through periodical inspection tours, checks, and other means.
At the same time, the equipment in use is removed at every opportunity. Furthermore, considering that the leakage of insulating oil from the pole mounted transformers has occurred due to the equipment damage caused by lightnings and typhoons, the rust on the bottom of the equipment, etc., and some of such equipment contain a trace quantity of PCB, we conduct the planned inspection and replacement of the pole mounted transformers as preventive maintenance measures while taking the measures for improvement of these equipment including change of the specification of such transformer into salt-tolerance.
In the case of the leakage of insulating oil, the leaked oil and the surrounding soil are immediately collected and properly stored and managed in our facilities. In addition, we not only immediately report about such leakage to the central government and the local governments involved but also explain to those who have the land rights of such area and the neighboring residents that such leakage has no impacts on the environment nor interfere with public life and traffic by informing them of the amount and scope of such oil leakage and of any action such as soil collection.
Detoxification and Recycling Plan
"Tohoku EPCo Sakata Recycling Center" (located at Sakata city in Yamagata prefecture), which is the recycling facility for the post mounted transformers containing a trace quantity of PCB, is now under construction, and treatment operation is scheduled to start during 2007 and to be completed by 2016 that is the time limit for treatment provided by the law.
The construction work will be proceeded with in the future with security of safety and environmental preservation as first priorities while continuously obtaining local residents' understanding as before.
In the meantime, for the transformers and other equipment that have been using PCB for insulating oil from the beginning, we plan to outsource the treatment work of them to the wide-area treatment facilities initiated by the central government.
Furthermore, the report by the Japan Electrical Manufacturers' Association submitted to the central government showed in July 2002 that a trace quantity of PCB had been contained in the electrical equipment such as transformers which had not been used in themselves any PCB, and given that the strategy for handling these equipment is under consideration by the national investigative committee, we will cope with this treatment matters based on the results of such consideration.
Conceptual drawing of Sakata Recycling Center
Outline of the Plan of the Recycling Facility
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