Japan Starts Constructing Ice Wall at Crippled Fukushima Power Plant

By Esther Tanquintic-Misa
June 4, 2014 4:23 PM EST

Japan Starts Constructing Ice Wall at Crippled Fukushima Power Plant

Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of crippled Fukushima power plant, has started constructing a huge underground ice wall around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. This plan is seen to control and manage the production of toxic water at the complex devastated by a tsunami that was triggered by a magnitude 9 earthquake in March 2011.


The massive underground 1.5 km (0.9 mile) ice wall, similar to the snow-capped North Wall in the Game of Thrones, will be made by inserting 1,550 pipes into the ground. Coolant will circulate in the pipes thus freezing the surrounding soil.


Funded by the government at $300 million, the ice wall will prevent groundwater from seeping into the plant and mixing with contaminated water inside. The Fukushima power plant produces around 400 tonnes of contaminated water daily. They emanate from both cooling water being pumped into the reactors and from groundwater flowing into the basements of the stricken reactor buildings.


TEPCO has targeted the end of March 2015 as completion date of the gigantic wall. Fully freezing the soil, however, will take a few months, Kyodo cited an unidentified TEPCO official had said.


TEPCO announced the plans for the ice wall in September 2013.


Sceptics remain wary however if the plan will really work. TEPCO may be able to freeze the surrounding soil but keeping it frozen could be a problem. Summers in Japan sometimes spike to an average of 86 degrees.


The video of the construction of the ice wall can be seen here.





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