Japan to build ice wall at Fukushima

Japan will on Monday begin constructing an underground ice wall at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, freezing the soil under broken reactors to slow the build-up of radioactive water,officials said.

The wall is intended to block groundwater from nearby hillsides that has been flowing under the plant and mixing with polluted water already there.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority, Japan’s national watchdog, last week gave the go-ahead to beginning the construction of the ice wall at Fukushima Daiichi, owned and operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco).

The government-funded scheme will see deeply laid pipes filled with refrigerant to create a 1.5-kilometre frozen wall that will stem the inflow of groundwater.

The idea of freezing a section of the ground, which was proposed for Fukushima last year, has previously been used in the construction of tunnels near watercourses.

However, scientists point out that it has not been done on this scale before, nor for the proposed length of time.

Worst nuclear disaster in a generation
Coping with the huge, and growing, amount of water at the tsunami-damaged plant is proving to be one of the biggest challenges for Tepco, as it tries to clean up the mess after the worst nuclear disaster in a generation, in which three reactors went into meltdown.

As well as all the water used to keep broken reactors cool, the utility must also deal with water that makes its way along subterranean watercourses from mountainsides to the sea.

Last month Tepco began a bypass system that diverts groundwater into the sea to try to reduce the volume of contaminated water.

Full decommissioning of the plant at Fukushima is expected to take several decades. An area around the plant remains out of bounds, and experts warn that some settlements may have to be abandoned because of high levels of radiation. – AFP

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

War on diamonds: Toil and triumph on the rich barren...

“I’m willing to take a bullet” says Northern Cape natives who claim the land, and its diamonds, belong to them.

Shell v Wild Coast: Science, research and erring on the...

Court applicants have argued that the company should be required to conduct an environmental impact assessment, based on the best available science, which has advanced considerably since Shell’s permit to conduct seismic surveys was granted

How spies shape South Africa’s political path

From Mbeki to Zuma to Ramaphosa, the facts and fictions of the intelligence networks have shadowed political players and settled power struggles

I’m just a lawyer going to court, says attorney on...

The Mthatha attorney is angered by a tweet alleging he sways the high court and the Judicial Services Commission
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×