25 Juin 2014
June 25, 2014
Nuclear body to examine delay in freezing water
Japan's nuclear regulatory body will examine the delay in efforts to prevent radiation-contaminated wastewater from flowing into underground tunnels at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
About 11,000 tons of water used to cool melted-down fuel has leaked out of reactor buildings into underground utility tunnels, from where it is believed to be flowing out to sea.
Tokyo Electric Power Company began pouring a chemical solution into the joints between the reactor buildings and the tunnels in April. This process is designed to freeze the wastewater and create a wall of ice to prevent more water from coming in. But the water has not fully frozen as planned.
At a meeting of the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Wednesday, Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa said work to stop water flowing into the tunnels, the part of the problem with the highest risk, has been slow. He said until this work succeeds, there can be no discussions on a larger plan to freeze soil around the reactor buildings.
Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said the work needs to be monitored and guided, to ease public concern.
The authority plans to convene a meeting of experts to study why the water hasn't frozen as planned, and how to proceed.
Jun. 25, 2014 - Updated 10:16 UTC