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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Media allowed access to icewall

July 8, 2014

Media allowed access to Fukushima frozen wall site



The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has allowed media access to the construction site of an underground frozen wall, which is designed to reduce the massive volume of radioactive wastewater.

Tokyo Electric Power Company invited the media on Tuesday for the first time to the site near the No.4 reactor building. Workers were digging 30-meter-deep holes to install pipes.

Coolant will circulate in these pipes to freeze the soil and create a wall surrounding the 4 damaged reactors.

TEPCO says workers do their jobs from the late afternoon to the evening so they won't suffer heatstroke.

The operator also says freezing the soil will start next March if everything goes well.
The wall is designed to stop groundwater from flowing into the reactor buildings and mixing with radioactive wastewater. The huge amount of wastewater is hampering efforts to scrap the crippled plant.

Separately, TEPCO is trying to freeze wastewater in a utility tunnel at the No.2 reactor building to stop it from flowing into the sea. But the water hasn't been fully frozen more than 2 months after the work began.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has raised concerns that the frozen wall will have the same problem.

The head of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Akira Ono, says the 2 projects use different methods, and TEPCO has confirmed that the wall will work.

The frozen wall and the tunnel will intersect at one point.
If freezing the water in the tunnel takes longer than planned, it would delay the wall's construction.

Jul. 8, 2014 - Updated 21:15 UTC

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