Underground ice wall to contain Fukushima leaks gets official approval

Underground ice wall to contain Fukushima leaks gets official approval

Japanese authorities gave the go-ahead yesterday to the construction of an underground ice wall around the nuclear reactors of the crippled Fukushima plant in attempt to slow down the build-up of radioactive water. Experts are still questioning whether giant ice wall will actually work. 

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has approved the project after dismissing the idea that it could have a significant negative impact on subterranean watercourses and on the stability of the subsoil under the plant. "Today we confirmed that the possible scale of ground sinkage will not be significant, and that was the secondary effect we feared most from building the wall," Toyoshi Fuketa, one of the experts of the authority, said. (GP)

The construction of 1.5 km long ice wall that will surround reactors 1 to 4 will begin in June 2014.

A series of thin pipelines will be inserted at a depth of 30 m, some 20 - 40 m apart, through which a coolant with a temperature of minus 40 degrees will be injected. This is expected to act as a physical barrier between groundwater and contaminated water.

Although similar techniques have been used in the past it was never on a such massive scale. 

Full decommissioning of the plant at Fukushima is expected to take 20 - 30 years.

Featured image: Imagery © 2014 Cnes/Spot Image, DigitalGlobe, Landsat, Map data ©2014 Google, ZENRIN


FC 5 years ago

It is too late. This fire stops anyone from being able to be at the site due to huge radioactivity released. Going on still . . . Monday fire video - http://flyingcuttlefish.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/spf4-fire/ continuing to burn - http://flyingcuttlefish.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/smoke-2/

kdeh2 5 years ago

Anonymous Official: Part of ground to sink beneath Fukushima reactors from ice wall being built — Gov’t: Biggest fear is ground sinkage and buildings being destabilized — Tepco: It will sink up to 16mm, but should be ok — Scientist: “People have lost confidence in Tepco” Kyodo, May 27, 2014: The Nuclear Regulation Authority has decided to allow [...] building an underground ice wall [...] despite safety concerns [...] The NRA has been wary that building the ice wall could cause the ground to sink around the reactor and adjacent turbine buildings [...] the agency accepted Tepco’s explanation that any sinking would not be significant enough to put safety at risk. A Tepco official told NRA members and experts that the ground may sink up to 16 mm in some spots, but that the utility believes it won’t pose a problem to the stability of the ground. “I think we have been able to confirm today the scale of ground sinking, which is what we have most feared as side effects of building the wall,” NRA Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa said after hearing Tepco’s explanation [...] he noted that other issues concerning the project must still be discussed, including ways to accurately measure the level of radioactive water accumulating inside the reactor buildings. [...] NHK, May 26, 2014: [NRA] reviewed the project at a meeting in Tokyo on Monday. Officials from TEPCO said their estimates show the ground around the Number 1 to Number 4 reactors would sink as much as 16 millimeters after the underground walls are built. [...] tunnels will be dug on the mountain side of the plant’s buildings [...] The NRA will continue to examine plans to construct similar frozen soil walls on the seaside of the facility. It will also consider ways to prevent wastewater in the reactor buildings from seeping into the environment. AFP, May 26, 2014: “We had some concerns, including the possibility that part of the ground could sink,” one official said on condition of anonymity. “But there were no major objections to the project during the meeting, and we concluded that TEPCO can go ahead with at least part of the project as proposed after going through further necessary procedures.” However, TEPCO may have to review other parts of the project amid fears it might affect existing structures at the plant such as underground drains, he added. ABC Radio (AU), May 22, 2014 — Ken Buesseler, Sr. scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: [...] if you divert that water flow, what does that do to the stability of the site itself? The soils? Or things happening such as saltwater intrusion? Would you get a flow back of the ocean water, now that you’re not letting all of the fresh water out? Those are pretty key questions [...] people have lost confidence in TEPCO [...] I think they really have a challenge rebuilding the public trust in general [...] One of their first priorities has to be clean-up of what they’ve already collected, but they’ve been unsuccessful so far at doing that. http://enenews.com/anonymous-official-part-of-ground-could-sink-beneath-fukushima-reactors-govt-biggest-fear-is-ground-sinkage-and-buildings-being-unstable-tepco-soil-will-sink-but-should-be-ok-scient?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

skywalker 5 years ago

not sure that an ice wall is going to stop the liquefied plutonium reactor which melted through the bottom of the reactor into the ground underneath. the subsidence is getting worse as the molten core slowly melts its way into the earth ,so when the rest of the reactor sinks into this growing hole in the ground, the spent fuel rods in the containment tank will most likely join the molten core and make the bad situation worse. so little information is being released to the public cos there are a lot of very scared officials with no real answers to the problem.

Miss M 5 years ago

I thought it would be worth sharing that watching the TED talk "6 ways mushrooms can save the world" by Paul Stamets blew my mind and gave me a glimmer of hope for Fukushima. If you watch and agree please spread the word. We need people with money and people of science to find ways to help Fukushima and to bring attention to this. This issue has to be much bigger than any of us know because of the way the media is controlled. This is affecting the whole world and will only continue. The poor people, animals and land of Japan...

Post a comment

Your name: *

Your email address: *

Comment text: *

The image that appears on your comment is your Gravatar