Archive for the ‘TEPCO’ Category

In Landmark Decision, TEPCO to Pay Victim’s Family in Fukushima Suicide Case

August 27, 2014
Published on
by

Family of Hamako Watanabe, who committed suicide after fleeing Fukushima disaster, awarded $472,000 by court

Two IAEA experts examine recovery work on top of Unit 4 of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on 17 April 2013 (Photo: IAEA Imagebank)

 

A Japanese court has ordered the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to pay damages to the family of a woman who killed herself after being forced to flee the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

The court awarded the family of Hamako Watanabe 49 million yen ($472,000) in a case that could influence future outcomes of other victim lawsuits against the nuclear operator, BBCreports.

Watanabe and her husband Mikio were evacuated because of radioactive contamination in June 2011, three months after the failure of several nuclear reactors at the Fukushima power plant in the Futaba district in Japan. Their home in Kawamata town was about 40 kilometers away from the site of the meltdown, which occurred when a 9.0-magnitude undersea earthquake triggered a tsunami that flooded cooling systems at the plant, resulting in the worst nuclear disaster in Japan’s recent history.

When Watanabe, 58, was allowed to return briefly to the family home after they were moved into an apartment in Fukushima city, she doused herself in gasoline and set herself on fire.

Mikio and the couple’s three children sued TEPCO for 91 million yen in damages, on the grounds that the forced evacuation, and subsequent uncertainty about her future, caused her depression. The chicken farm where she and her husband worked also closed, BBC says.

In a statement, TEPCO apologized again to the people of Fukushima, saying it would “examine the ruling and continue to cope with the issue sincerely,” according to theGuardian.

TEPCO, which was bailed out with taxpayer funds in 2012 in the wake of the disaster, is expected to spend more than $48 billion in compensation alone, IB Times says.

“We pray that Hamako Watanabe has found peace,” the company said.

Roughly 150,000 people were evacuated after the meltdown, approximately one-third of whom remain in temporary housing. Dozens are reported to have killed themselves since the disaster. News this week revealed that Fukushima youth were found to have elevated rates of thyroid cancer.

Share This Article

‘Shock’: Water underneath Fukushima reactors to be dumped in ocean — Attempts to deal with problem have ‘failed’

August 9, 2014

ENENews


‘Shock’: Water underneath Fukushima reactors to be dumped in ocean — Attempts to deal with problem have ‘failed’ — Officials: It’s better than radioactive substances just “spilling directly into the ocean” like it is now (VIDEO)

Posted: 08 Aug 2014 05:25 PM PDT

TV Host: I’m studying Fukushima every day — “They have no idea what they’re going to do… There’s no solution… It’s a nightmare” — Tens of thousands of gallons of radioactive water spill into Pacific Ocean each day — “We really need to shut down all reactors” (VIDEO)

Posted: 08 Aug 2014 09:58 AM PDT

Gov’t: Fuel melted “much deeper” into concrete at Fukushima reactor than revealed — Triple the depth of original estimate — Tepco: “Impossible for us to evaluate potential impact”

Posted: 08 Aug 2014 07:02 AM PDT

‘Increasing alarm’ at Fukushima: Thousands of tons of plutonium contaminated liquid in trenches leaking into ocean

August 8, 2014

ENENews


‘Increasing alarm’ at Fukushima: Thousands of tons of plutonium contaminated liquid in trenches leaking into ocean — ‘Biggest risk’ at plant — ‘Exceptionally difficult’ problem — ‘Constant flow’ in and out of trenches — ‘Racing to stop’ more from coming in (PHOTO)

Posted: 07 Aug 2014 08:02 PM PDT

Fukushima Meltdown Worse Than Previous Estimates: TEPCO

August 8, 2014
Published on
by

Company releases new findings which show nearly all nuclear fuel melted in Reactor 3 following 2011 earthquake and tsunami

Workers at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station work among underground water storage pools on 17 April 2013. (Photo: Greg Webb / IAEA)

The meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan was more severe than previously acknowledged, owner Tokyo Electric Power Company announced Wednesday, according to reports from Japanese media.

The company released new estimates that nearly every fuel rod at Reactor 3, located at No. 1 plant, melted as a result of Japan’s March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and most likely fell to the bottom of the containment unit. The finding is far higher than the company’s previously stated estimates in which it told people that only 63 percent of the reactor’s nuclear fuel had melted. Furthermore, TEPCO’s new statement acknowledges that the fuel began melting six hours earlier than previously believed.

“It is still impossible for us to evaluate the potential impact (of the findings) on the decommissioning of the reactor,” a TEPCO official stated following the release of the findings, according to Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

But Japanese newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun reports that the finding might further complicate the troubled decommissioning of the plant.

The paper explains:

As the core meltdown is now believed to have started earlier than was previously thought, the amount of melted nuclear fuel that passed into the containment vessel through the pressure vessel is considered to have been greater, making it technically more difficult to extract the melted fuel and dispose of it.

Official: “Unfortunately, the fuel itself is exposed” at Fukushima — Scientist: Our tests show contamination isn’t going away… reactors are leaking out into ocean…

August 7, 2014

ENENews


Official: “Unfortunately, the fuel itself is exposed” at Fukushima — Scientist: Our tests show contamination isn’t going away… reactors are leaking out into ocean… there’s still a problem — PBS: Plume of water tainted with radiation is reaching to other side of Pacific (VIDEO)

Posted: 06 Aug 2014 11:36 PM PDT

TV: “Mysterious die off of young salmon” in Pacific Northwest — “Healthy… and then they die” heading out to sea — “Far less plankton than normal… There are too many questions” — Researchers now testing for plankton and Fukushima contamination off West Coast (VIDEO)

Posted: 06 Aug 2014 11:54 AM PDT

NHK News Flash: Meltdown at Fukushima worse than thought — Most of nuclear fuel ‘melted through’ Reactor 3 and “continued down to bottom of outer containment vessel” — “Has changed their understanding of what’s happening inside” (VIDEO)

New report estimates 278 trillion Bq of plutonium released from Fukushima reactors — Over 200 times higher than amount reported by Tepco

August 6, 2014

ENENews


Alaska: “Scientists alarmed by new mystery disease” — Pacific Northwest: “Alarming changes” — “Couldn’t believe my eyes” — “Scientists really stumped… It’s kind of an alien thing” — “Gotten much, much worse… a horror show… could wreak havoc on entire ecosystems from Mexico to Alaska” (VIDEO)

Posted: 05 Aug 2014 10:12 PM PDT

New report estimates 278 trillion Bq of plutonium released from Fukushima reactors — Over 200 times higher than amount reported by Tepco — “Highly radiotoxic when incorporated into human body” as it decays

Posted: 05 Aug 2014 11:13 AM PDT

Does Tepco own a radioactive marshland in Oze national park it can not sell?

July 12, 2014
OpEdNews Op Eds 7/11/2014 at 12:21:57

By  (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ;Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

opednews.com

click here

Op Ed by Arclight2011

Published on 7 July 2014

At the early stages of the Fukushima nuclear disaster I wondered if the Oze National park had been contaminated from nuclear fallout.Chris busby had tested car air filtersfrom Tokyo and found high levels of radioactive particles and he alsotested a filter from an apartment in Tokyo and found high levels of radioactive lead (Pb).

A Japanese scientist was refused permission to check for radionuclides in the environment and had to leave his university position and then tested for contamination and found high levels of radionuclides in the forest in the mountains.

The map below shows a radionuclide dispersion different from the IAEA/UNSCEAR version in that it shows a wide dispersion that finds its way into the mountains nearly as far as Tokyo.


Radiation fallout map of Japan
(image by backyardworld)

Image source ; http://backyardworld.wordpress.com/maps/A recent finding posted by Iori at Fukushima Diary asks why is the level of contamination in Tokyo drinking water as high as Fukushima and even higher than Myiagi prefecture (that is nearer than Tokyo)? A reason might be that the reservoirs that supply Tokyo are contaminated from the higher levels of contaminates washed down from the mountains and or through the rivers from the marshes at Oze National Park, these past 3 years.

 

If we look at the waters that feed the marshland in Oze National Park that is south of the Fukushima Daichi nuclear site, we might wonder if the waters that feed Oze National Park might also be suffering from contamination.

There are no known studies of this area that have been made public. However, an article published in Japan in July 2011 states that in a spa near to the mountain range an atmospheric reading showed that the contamination was as much as 50 percent of the contamination found in Fukushima city (0.45 mcSv/h at the spa).

TEPCO own some 70 percent of this unique wildlife area and were asked to sell it to compensate the people of Fukushima but that Yukio Edano, a government minister, was reported to ask TEPCO to not sell it. This is odd as the area had been losing visitors for many years before the disaster and therefore TEPCO were not showing themselves to be good stewards of the land anyway. In fact, an OECD report from 1999 said that conflicts between the private sector (TEPCO and the Oze Forest Management Co. owned by Tepco and runs 5 lodges in Oze, four of which are in the Special Protection Zone against other park organisers’ wishes) and the environment agency and conservation NGOs caused difficulties that would be easier to deal with if the environment agency had overall say in the running of Oze National park.

The fact that TEPCO only provide 200 million yen a year to the overall 1.4 billion yen a year running costs (600 million yen of which comes from the government and 400 million yen from NGOs). A sluice gate that provided water from the park helps to feed the Tone River, which is used for irrigation and which dams have been constructed on its headwaters to produce hydroelectricity and to form reservoirs to supply water to the Keihin Industrial Zone. This river meets the pacific just north of Tokyo near the heavily contaminated area of Chiba.

The questions really are “why has TEPCO not sold its shares in the national park? Is it because the area is contaminated and this might be found out by the new owners? Why is the government saying Tepco should not sell it if the OECD report says that it would be more simple not to have the ownership shared with a private company?

Also the aquifer that feeds the lower marshland is connected to the same aquifer that the nuclear-disaster site is situated on. So TEPCO would want control of this large area to cover up any cross-contamination from the nuclear site?

The contaminated ground water at Daichi is above another layer of groundwater that is deeper. The water at the lower level was found to have less pressure than the water above that which is contaminated. So that means that the lower layer of ground water has been contaminated over the last 3 years and that contaminated water may be making its way slowly towards the Oze national park marshlands that TEPCO owns.

The idea of the ice wall is to possibly lower the pressure of the upper layer under the nuclear reactors and slow down the process. Although it is reported that TEPCO have started the ice wall it seems that this means that they are drilling holes for sensors and the freezing process is not yet begun. I can find no report that the freezing of the water has started. So this means that the heavily contaminated high pressure water is still mixing with the lower-pressure deeper layer and likely traveling outwards from there.

 

 

A Japanese government report from 1993 shows that this whole area was affected by industry using this ground water to supply its factories and nuclear plants. This caused a vast subsidence all along the coast and on the Fukushima plain. Needless to say, TEPCO needs to be very careful how they manage these layers of ground water because it covers a vast area. And this was likely the reason for the need for a sluice gate to replace the ground-water restrictions brought in after the ground-subsidence issues reported above.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

http://www.nuclear-news.net

I have been researching the issues concerning the nuclear industry and associated social impacts since the nuclear disaster in the Fukushima prefecture in Japan in march 2011. my interests in this field cover the technical aspects concerning (more…)

Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend 

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Fukushima Has Nine Days to Prevent “Unsafe” Overheating

July 8, 2014

Leakage of radioactive water from a plastic tank (yellow) at TEPCO's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. (photo: AFP/TEPCO)
Leakage of radioactive water from a plastic tank (yellow) at TEPCO’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. (photo: AFP/TEPCO)

By RT

07 July 14

 

ukushima operator TEPCO has been forced to switch off the cooling system at mothballed Reactor Unit 5, after it was discovered that it had been leaking water. In nine days, if the system is not repaired, temperatures will exceed dangerous levels.

Engineers have discovered that 1,300 liters of water leaked from a cooling system intended to stabilize the temperature of the spent fuel at the Reactor Unit 5, which was offline but loaded with fuel rods when the plant was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

The source of the leak was a 3 mm-diameter hole near a flow valve, a statement published by the Japanese energy giant on Sunday asserts. However it is unclear from company data if the location of the opening has been discovered, or whether it was calculated with flow measurements.

At the time when the cooling system was switched off at around 12pm on Sunday, the temperature in the pool in which the rods are submerged was 23C but started increasing by 0.193 degrees per hour, TEPCO says.

If no new cold water is pumped in at such rate it will reach the dangerous threshold of 65C by the midpoint of the month in roughly 9 days.

Such temperatures, which have not been routinely seen at the plant since the failing of the cooling system in the immediate aftermath, would increase the possibility of dangerous reactions and further radiation leaks in the plant.

TEPCO however says that currently, there have been no abnormal readings anywhere in the plant.

ince TEPCO is using seawater for many of its cooling needs at the power plant, it has previously encountered heightened levels of corrosion, in sensitive equipment. The cooling system at various reactors has also been beset by calamities – from rats short circuiting the control panel and forcing a blackout, to an employee “accidentally” switching it off, though all were resolved before rod pools overheated.

At the same time, TEPCO is struggling to deal with ever-increasing volumes of contaminated water which is being stored in hundreds of tanks at the facility and frequently leaking and contaminating the soil beneath it. And the much publicized plan to stop contaminated water from leaking into the sea by building an ‘ice-wall’ and freezing soil and water around the facility is not working as well as Japanese officials had hoped.

SEE ALSO: Typhoon Described as “Once In Decades Storm” Is Barreling Toward Japan

 

Fukushima FUBAR – Still Bad, Still Getting Worse

June 23, 2014

Members of the media and Tokyo Electric Power Co employees walk past storage tanks for radioactive water in the H4 area at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan. (photo: AFP/Tomohiro Ohsumi)
Members of the media and Tokyo Electric Power Co employees walk past storage tanks for radioactive water in the H4 area at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan. (photo: AFP/Tomohiro Ohsumi)

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

22 June 14

 

ust because meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear site aren’t much in the news of late, it’s not safe to assume they’re under control. They’re not. The 2011 accident continues uninterrupted, beyond control, beyond reliable measurement, beyond honest reporting in most media, and beyond any hope of being significantly mitigated for years and probably decades to come. That’s the best case. Alternatively, radiation levels are rising, especially for Tritium and Plutonium, and much of it goes right into the ocean. Either way, officials in Japan and the U.S.have responded by arbitrarily raising the officially “safe” level of radiation exposure.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) released an 8-page report June 11, based on what it shows was very limited sampling, taken three months (in 2011) and 32 months (in 2013) after the meltdowns. Distributed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the report lacks any useful detail for an exposed public, and its main conclusion is opaque on human safety:

Air dose rates in both “Road and its adjacent area” and “Vacant land lot” have decreased more rapidly than we expected considering the physical half-life of radionuclide in 32 months after the accident.

Who’ll stop the rain? Or the groundwater? Or fuel pool coolant?

Recently the Tokyo Electric Company (TEPCO), responsible for the nuclear site, has acknowledged that rain is a problem. TEPCO has thousands of storage tanks filled with radioactive groundwater collected from the site, but rain adds to the water in the tanks and becomes part of the total volume of radioactive water on site and flowing out. TEPCO has suggested a variety of ways of putting a cover, a roof, or a tent over the tanks to keep the rain out. But TEPCO hasn’t done it yet.

The Fukushima nuclear power plants have been shut down for more than three years, but the nuclear fuel is not yet stabilized and the site leaks radioactivity constantly, but at a varying, often unknown rate. The Fukushima disaster is unprecedented in scale, complexity, and consequence. Fukushima’s continuing release of radioactivity long since passed the scale of Chernobyl in 1986. Fukushima releases are now estimated at three times the Russian accident, but with no end in sight for Japan.

There’s no end in sight for Ukraine, either, where the Chernobyl accident may be better contained than Fukushima, but Chernobyl won’t be over till it’s over, either. Reasonably enough, Japan and Ukraine have been working together to launch satellites that will monitor their respective nuclear disasters. A Ukrainian-designed rocket carrying two Japanese-developed satellites is scheduled to launch into orbit from Russia’s Ural space station on June 26. The rocket will be carrying 33 small satellites from 17 countries.

The satellites from Ukraine and Japan are intended to maintain a continuous record of conditions at and around the two nuclear disasters. How governments use and/or share this data remains to be seen. As one Tokyo University professor involved in the project expressed concern over government accountability, “I hope that the data will help Japan and Ukrainecorrectly acknowledge the impact on the environment near the two plants.” [Emphasis added.]

“I’ve been involved in this Fukushima volunteer for 3 years. Blood splashes out of the skin suddenly, and quite often. This is the reality.”

A Fukushima decontamination volunteer posted that comment on Twitter. (There the translation is rougher: “Voluntary activities [scary internal radiation threat: Fukushima from the third year. This reality that one day, often happen to be suddenly spewing blood from the skin.”) The anecdotal suffering of people affected by Fukushima and the years of inadequate official response goes largely unreported, except by a few like Mochizuki Cheshire Iori, who has maintained his Fukushima Diary since immediately after the meltdowns. He recently reported a massive spike of Cesium in Yaiti City, midway between Fukushima and Tokyo.

Fukushima Diary also posted a report of elevated radiation levels in Tokyo in February 2014. These are anecdotal reports, but there have been other reports of radiation in Tokyo. Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen reported personally measuring material in Tokyo in December 2012 that was hot enough to be classified as radioactive waste in the U.S. Japan did nothing about it. There is apparently no consistent, official monitoring of radiation in Tokyo. If there were, and the measurements were high, that might threaten the Olympics scheduled for Tokyo in 2020.

The official Japanese position, expressed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the International Olympic Committee in September 2013, goes like this: “Let me assure you the situation [in Fukushima] is under control. It has never done and will never do any damage to Tokyo.”

Public policy, based on average exposures and estimated “safe” levels, is not all that concerned with personal safety, not even for Olympic athletes. Beat the averages and, officially, there’s no damage. But if you, personally, win the bad lottery and ingest a random“hot particle,” you may have a problem, about which most governments don’t much care.

“We have yet to form the ice stopper because we can’t make the temperature low enough to freeze water,” a TEPCO spokesman said.

To control the flow fresh of water into the Fukushima site, where it gets irradiated by the melted reactor cores before it flows on out to the Pacific, TEPCO’s plans (reports vary) included building a gigantic, underground ice wall to keep the fresh water out. Another reported plan was to build a gigantic, underground ice wall to keep the radioactive water in. A third plan was to build a gigantic, underground ice wall all the way around the contaminated site, keeping the outside water out (except rain) and the inside water in.

TEPCO tried and failed to freeze about 11,000 tons of radioactive water (about 2.6 million gallons) in place in trenches underneath two of the destroyed reactor buildings.

TEPCO also continuously adds to the radioactive water build-up with the water it must pump into the site to keep the melted reactor cores and fuel pools cool enough that they don’t go critical again and spew more radiation.

So far the ice wall plans, which would take a decade or more to complete if all went well, are already behind schedule and not really working out. On June 18, Al Jazeera summed it up in a story under the headline: “FUKUSHIMA ‘ICE WALL’ LOOKING MORE LIKE A DIRT SLURPEE.”

The next day, TEPCO issued a news release saying the earlier media reports, also based on a TEPCO news release, were wrong. TEPCO said the media had confused two different projects, both being carried out by Kajima Corp.: (1) the effort to freeze the ground around Fukushima and (2) the failed attempt to freeze water under only part of Fukushima.

The nuclear-industrial complex is a global power

In recent years, we’ve heard predictions of a global “nuclear renaissance,” which has yet to materialize despite heavy government subsidy of nuclear power in the U.S. and elsewhere. In 2002, by official count, the world had 444 “operating nuclear reactors,” now that number is less than 400. And even that total, a decline of 10%, is an inflated mirage created by the IAEA, which counts Japan’s 48 reactors as “in operation,” even though they are all shut down or inoperable, thanks to the Fukushima meltdowns.

Another nuclear industry promotional organization, the World Nuclear Association, continues to promise “The Nuclear Renaissance,” arguing that:

With 70 reactors being built around the world today, another 160 or more planned to come online during the next 10 years, and hundreds more further back in the pipeline, the global nuclear industry is clearly going forward strongly. Negative responses to the Fukushima accident, notably in Europe, do not change this overall picture. Countries with established programmes are seeking to replace old reactors as well as expand capacity…. Most (over 80%) of the expansion in this century is likely to be in countries already using nuclear power.

American, Japanese, and other governments around the world have long been in thrall to the nuclear industry. Currently the commercial nuclear industry is dominated by three Western-Japanese conglomerates: the French Areva with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and two American companies, General Electric and Westinghouse, with Hitachi and Toshiba, respectively.

The human cost of Fukushima doesn’t come out of their bottom lines, and most governments will also shirk paying for it as much as possible.

TEPCO sends mixed message about how safe Fukushima is

A Fukushima report from VICE (published May 26) notes that the Japanese government continues to try to keep information secret as much as it can. A former Japanese legislator says his government tried to conceal measurements of radioactive Cesium at Fukushima that were 168 times higher than the level at Hiroshima after the 1945 A-bomb attack. The government keeps telling the public that everything is OK.

The 13-minute video covers some of the more familiar Fukushima horrors: radiation poisoning and increasing thyroid cancers; the government allowing the sale of highly radioactive food; inadequate official measurement of Fukushima radiation levels; and the lethal effect of feeding radioactive leaves from Fukushima plants to healthy butterflies. There is a scene of TEPCO officials refusing to talk on camera beyond a short, bland reassurance that everything is OK. There is a TEPCO worker (his identity concealed) who says the equipment at Fukushima is deteriorating and the cooling systems might fail. And there is a dissonant sequence showing a government official wearing no protective clothing leading the camera crew (in protective clothing) inside the Fukushima site – until TEPCO workers (in protective clothing) chase them all away because it’s too dangerous.

When U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy visited the Fukushima ruins, she was unidentifiable under her protective clothing, as was her son with her. Ambassador Kennedy reportedly said that the U.S. would help “in any way that it can,” which could mean no way.

In June, the governor of Fukushima Prefecture was asking the Tokyo Olympics committee to have the 2020 Olympics torch relay run along a road only 2 kilometers from the Fukushima meltdowns that caused more than 100,000 people to be evacuated, most of whom cannot return. The governor is also lobbying for an Olympics training camp 20 km from the meltdowns, in buildings that presently house workers hired by TEPCO to carry out the decommissioning and decontamination that even TEPCO expects to take decades.

Meanwhile there are some things that don’t change: the Fukushima cores are still melting down, earthquakes still happen in the neighborhood (most recently June 16), and President Obama is still pushing to build more nukes.


William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

Plan to build ice wall around Fukushima plant hits snag

June 18, 2014

TOKYO —

The operator of Japan’s battered Fukushima nuclear power plant said Tuesday it was having trouble with the early stages of an ice wall being built under broken reactors to contain radioactive water.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has begun digging the trenches for a huge network of pipes pipes under the plant through which it intends to pass refrigerant.

This will freeze the soil and form a physical barrier that is intended to prevent clean groundwater flowing down mountainsides from mixing with contaminated water underneath the leaking reactors.

TEPCO said Tuesday a smaller, inner ice wall whose pipes it sank earlier to contain the already-contaminated water was proving difficult.

“We have yet to form the ice stopper because we can’t make the temperature low enough to freeze water,” a TEPCO spokesman said.

“We are behind schedule but have already taken additional measures, including putting in more pipes, so that we can remove contaminated water from the trench starting next month.”

The coolant being used in the operation is an aqueous solution of calcium chloride, which is cooled to -30 degrees Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit).

The idea of freezing a section of the ground, which was proposed for Fukushima last year, has previously been used in the construction of tunnels near watercourses.

However, scientists point out that it has not been done on this scale before nor for the proposed length of time.

Coping with the huge—and growing—amount of water at the tsunami-damaged plant is proving to be one of the biggest challenges for TEPCO, as it tries to clean up the mess after the worst nuclear disaster in a generation, in which three reactors went into meltdown.

As well as all the water used to keep broken reactors cool, the utility must also deal with water that makes its way along subterranean watercourses from mountainsides to the sea.

Full decommissioning of the plant at Fukushima is expected to take several decades. An area around the plant remains out of bounds, and experts warn that some settlements may have to be abandoned because of high levels of radiation.

© 2014 AFP


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 81 other followers