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.
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