Experts Skeptical of TEPCOs Ice Wall Plan

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Eyes Open Report

Image: Fukushima Plant (Wiki Commons).

As the days have gone on since the Fukushima no. 1 nuclear plant was crippled by a 2011 tsunami, those managing the site have struggled to contain the toxic water leaking from and being stored at the plant.

TEPCO announced last week they were moving forward with plans to construct a underground wall of ice around the damaged reactors in order to prevent ground water from seeping into, and mixing with, the highly radioactive water leaking from the reactor cores.

The ice wall idea came under criticism from Dale Klein, a former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman, who said there was doubt that the wall could be effective in the grounds around the plant due to the untested assumptions about the site’s hydrology.

“Any time you make a decision, it should be based on current, relevant science, and you have to strike a balance between science and policy,” Klein said in an interview in Tokyo. “At the end of the day, it may be a good alternative. But I’m just not convinced.”

More criticism is now coming from Japans Nuclear Regulation Authority who is echoing similar concern.

“We need to know if a frozen wall is really effective, and more importantly, we need to know whether a frozen wall may cause any trouble,” Toyoshi Fuketa, a commissioner with the Nuclear Regulation Authority, told Japan Times.

Fuketa says the hydrological impact of creating a frozen wall in the area is unclear.

A ice wall may be a idea seen seen as innovative, but also could be considered one of desperation. With constant reports of highly radio active leaks and disturbing infomation on how the damaged site is being managed, its as if TEPCO is running out of bullets.

The construction of the ice wall, if it gets the go-ahead, will begin in June and is reported to be utilized through 2020.