September 3, 2013
The Japanese government announced on Tuesday that 47 billion yen ($470 million) will be spent on a underground ice wall, along with other measures, in a desperate attempt to stop leaks of radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
A wall of frozen earth will be constructed around the reactors using pipes filled with coolant to avert groundwater from coming into contact with contaminated water being used to cool fuel rods.
The wall would seep 90 ft into the ground and is expected to be effective for 6-8 weeks before the process is to be repeated.
According to energy agency officials, the Governments spending on the ice wall and upgrades to water treatment units will stretch into March, 2015.
Dr Tatsujiro Suzuki, vice chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission told the BBC that the situation at the Fukushima plant was an unprecedented crisis and that it was getting worse.
He claimed the construction of the wall would be challenging and was not a permanent solution.
On Sunday, workers at plant took a radioactive reading near water storage tanks that was 18 times higher then what was recorded two weeks prior. Radiation around the bottom of the tank measured 1,800 millisieverts an hour, enough to kill a human within just four hours of exposure.
Just a day later, Japans top nuclear regulator raised concerns as new leaks were found in and around contaminated water storage tanks.
The pledge to fund the ice wall operation comes just days before the International Olympic Committee will decide where the 2020 summer Olympics will be held, which Tokyo is a candidate.