Anonymous Official: Part of ground to sink beneath Fukushima reactors from ice wall being built — Gov’t: Biggest fear is ground sinkage and buildings being destabilized — Tepco: It will sink up to 16mm, but should be ok — Scientist: “People have lost confidence in Tepco” (AUDIO)

Published: May 27th, 2014 at 10:35 am ET
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Kyodo, May 27, 2014: The Nuclear Regulation Authority has decided to allow [...] building an underground ice wall [...] despite safety concerns [...] The NRA has been wary that building the ice wall could cause the ground to sink around the reactor and adjacent turbine buildings [...] the agency accepted Tepco’s explanation that any sinking would not be significant enough to put safety at risk. A Tepco official told NRA members and experts that the ground may sink up to 16 mm in some spots, but that the utility believes it won’t pose a problem to the stability of the ground. “I think we have been able to confirm today the scale of ground sinking, which is what we have most feared as side effects of building the wall,” NRA Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa said after hearing Tepco’s explanation [...] he noted that other issues concerning the project must still be discussed, including ways to accurately measure the level of radioactive water accumulating inside the reactor buildings. [...]

NHK, May 26, 2014: [NRA] reviewed the project at a meeting in Tokyo on Monday. Officials from TEPCO said their estimates show the ground around the Number 1 to Number 4 reactors would sink as much as 16 millimeters after the underground walls are built. [...] tunnels will be dug on the mountain side of the plant’s buildings [...] The NRA will continue to examine plans to construct similar frozen soil walls on the seaside of the facility. It will also consider ways to prevent wastewater in the reactor buildings from seeping into the environment.

AFP, May 26, 2014: “We had some concerns, including the possibility that part of the ground could sink,” one official said on condition of anonymity. “But there were no major objections to the project during the meeting, and we concluded that TEPCO can go ahead with at least part of the project as proposed after going through further necessary procedures.” However, TEPCO may have to review other parts of the project amid fears it might affect existing structures at the plant such as underground drains, he added.

ABC Radio (AU), May 22, 2014 — Ken Buesseler, Sr. scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: [...] if you divert that water flow, what does that do to the stability of the site itself? The soils? Or things happening such as saltwater intrusion? Would you get a flow back of the ocean water, now that you’re not letting all of the fresh water out? Those are pretty key questions [...] people have lost confidence in TEPCO [...]  I think they really have a challenge rebuilding the public trust in general [...] One of their first priorities has to be clean-up of what they’ve already collected, but they’ve been unsuccessful so far at doing that.

See also: Senior Scientist: Fukushima giant 'ice wall' to make crisis worse -- Radioactive release into ocean from saltwater intrusion -- Side effects 'not good at all' (AUDIO)

Full ABC broadcast available here

Published: May 27th, 2014 at 10:35 am ET
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