‘Ice Wall’ Is Japan’s Last-Ditch Effort To Contain Fukushima Radiation

The nearly mile-long structure consists of underground pipes designed to form a frozen barrier around the crippled reactors.
The $312 million system was completed last month, more than a year behind schedule.
• Nearly 800,000 tons of radioactive water are already being stored onsite.

Japanese authorities have activated a large subterranean “ice wall” in a desperate attempt to stop radiation that’s been leaking from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant for five years.

The wall consists of a series of underground refrigeration pipes meant to form a frozen soil barrier around the four reactors that were crippled during the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

Construction of the $312 million government-funded structure was completed last month, more than a year behind schedule, the Associated Press reports. The nearly mile-long barrier is intended to block groundwater from entering the facility and becoming contaminated.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, which owns the plant, activated the system Thursday, a day after obtaining approval from Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority.

TEPCO started the refrigeration facilities at 11:20 today to freeze soil of the landside impermeable wall at Fukushima…

Posted by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Incorporated on Thursday, March 31, 2016

In a video detailing the ice wall’s design, TEPCO said the technology has been successfully used to prevent water intrusion during the construction of tunnels, but this is the first time it has been used to block water from entering a nuclear facility.

We will create an impermeable barrier,” the company said, “by freezing the soil itself all the way down to the bedrock that exists below the plant. When groundwater flowing downhill reaches this frozen barrier it will flow around the reactor buildings, reaching the —> Read More