The (former) plan to buuild an ice wall around Fukushima’s stricken nuclear power plant

Record high radiation in seawater off Fukushima plant, Japan Times, 17 May 14 “………..Tepco is struggling to reduce contamination at the poorly protected plant, which was damaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Measures include plans to build a gigantic underground ice wall around the plant to keep the daily flow of groundwater from entering the cracked reactor buildings and mingling with the highly radioactive cooling water in their basements.

The ice wall project is expected to cost ¥31.9 billion and will put a massive burden on the power grid when completed: It will need about 45.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity to operate, equal to annual power consumption of 13,000 average households.

The project involves freezing the soil into barricades 30 meters deep and 2 meters thick for a distance of 1,500 meters around the buildings housing reactors 1 through 4.

The soil will be frozen by sinking pipes into the ground and running liquids through them at a temperature of minus 30 degrees.

On Friday, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and contractor Kajima Corp. demonstrated a miniature ice wall to reporters at the site.

“We can confirm the frozen soil’s effect in blocking water,” a ministry official said afterwards.

The department aims to begin construction next month. But the Nuclear Regulation Authority has not approved the plan, saying its backers have so far provided insufficient reassurances about public safety. International nuclear experts have also expressed concern about the effectiveness of the plan. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/05/17/national/record-high-radiation-in-seawater-off-fukushima-plant/#.U3ptgdJdWik

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