Japan’s national broadcaster NHK warned that the expensive ice wall built to prevent the outflow of polluted water from Japan’s disaster-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant may have partially melted.
NHK said on Friday that Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), the plant’s operator, plans to reinforce the fence as early as early December, adding that the company has also been considering other measures to control toxic water.
When contacted by Reuters, TEPCO did not immediately confirm the details of the report.
The ice wall around the nuclear reactor is designed to prevent groundwater from flowing into or out of the power plant, which was paralyzed by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
Although called the “Ice Wall”, it is actually a permafrost barrier constructed with public funds of 34.5 billion yen ($324 million).
Approximately 1,500 pipes filled with salt water were sunk 30 meters deep within a 1.5-kilometer circumference around the four reactors in Fukushima. The brine is cooled to a temperature of -30 degrees Celsius.
The wall was fully put into use in August 2018, but despite TEPCO’s earlier assurances that it would reduce the flow, groundwater leakage at the site continued. “almost none.”
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