Saturday, March 9, 2013
Tests Will Use Slag To Desalt Soil In Tsunami-Hit Farmland
TOKYO (Nikkei)--Slag, a byproduct of steelmaking, will be used to cleanse farmland of salt deposited by the tsunami that followed the massive 2011 earthquake, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. (5401) and Tokyo University of Agriculture said Friday.
The steelmaker and others will work with the city of Soma in Fukushima Prefecture and local agricultural groups in fiscal 2013 to test the process on a 50-hectare rice field. Typically, lime is used to remove salt, but slag remains effective longer and inhibits substances contained in the tsunami mud from changing the soil's acidity.
The experiment will use converter slag, of which lime is a main ingrediant but also contains iron. When mixed in soil, it leaches the ground of salt. The partners will offer 500 tons of fertilizer made from slag for the trial and evaluate the results.
When Tokyo University of Agriculture grew rice last year in Soma on a 1.7-hectare paddy treated with slag, the resulting harvest exceeded the regional average. The university will also work to verify that substances in the slag blocked rice plants from absorbing radioactive cesium.
Slag is primarily used in cement and pavement, but Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal aims to expand its application to farming.
(The Nikkei, March 9 morning edition)