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Frozen wall set to be built at Fukushima Daiichi (NHK)

fukushimafrozenwall20140530_33_v_s2The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Monday will start constructing an underground “frozen soil wall” to surround the damaged reactor and turbine buildings.

The wall is to prevent groundwater from flowing into the facilities and being contaminated with highly radioactive materials there.

The government and Tokyo Electric Power Company plan to freeze the soil in a 1.5 kilometer zone around the facilities of reactors No.1 through 4.

The utility submitted a partial plan for the wall’s construction to the nuclear regulator and got approval. Coolant pipes are to be buried at the hill behind the facilities where the soil is not as contaminated as the seaside.

But the utility has yet to come up with the plan for the plant’s coastal area as it has to include some difficult areas with tunnels filled with highly contaminated water.

Another issue is how to prevent dangerously radioactive water in the plant’s basements from seeping out of the buildings and expanding the contamination. Stopping the flow of groundwater into the plant could lower its level around the facility to less than the water level at basements.

The expert panel at the Nuclear Regulation Authority will continue to discuss how to address these issues as well as how to monitor construction of the “frozen soil wall”.

 

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/nuclear.html

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