Canadian Consulting Engineer

Japan uses ice wall to contain Fukushima damage

The Japanese government is stepping in to try and contain the leakage of radioactive underground water from the failed Fukushima nuclear power plant. After the plant exploded and was flooded by a tsunami in March 2011, the utility that operates...

September 4, 2013   Canadian Consulting Engineer

The Japanese government is stepping in to try and contain the leakage of radioactive underground water from the failed Fukushima nuclear power plant. After the plant exploded and was flooded by a tsunami in March 2011, the utility that operates it, TEPCO, has been using seawater to cool the four reactors. So far it has built 1,000 tanks that are holding 335,000 tons of the contaminated water.

However, after reports that the tanks were leaking, the Japanese government announced this week that it will spend $470 million in 2014 to step up containment measures. It said it intends to construct an icewall below the reactors to stop any contaminated water leaking from them through the ground. A network of pipes will carry coolant at minus 40 degrees to create a subterranean ice wall 30 metres deep. As well the government will construct a new water treatment unit to remove all radioactive elements except tritium.

On Britain’s Channel 4, John Belton of a company called British Drilling and Freezing in Nottingham, U.K. said of the ice wall strategy: “It’s a proven technology and the Japanese are highly experienced at it. I imagine the main problem there will be getting the work done in such a hazardous environment.”

In the same Channel 4 report, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said: “Instead of leaving this up to TEPCO, the government will step forward and take charge. The world is watching if we can properly handle the contaminated water but also the entire decommissioning of the plant.”

In another measure, TEPCO is constructing an offshore wall of steel panels along the coast to stop contaminated water entering the ocean.

To read reports in The Huffington Post, click here.

To read the report on Channel 4, click here.


Print this page

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*