Fukushima worker concerned about ground settlement at plant — What will happen when Tepco starts pumping up 100s of tons of groundwater?

Published: May 22nd, 2012 at 2:15 pm ET


Tweets from @Happy11311, Fukushima Daiichi worker, translated by Fukushima Diary:

7:54 AM on May 22, 2012

Tepco is planning the construction to reduce the groundwater to flow into the reactor building. Tepco will start bowling the mountain side of the reactor building and pump up the groundwater, but I am concerned about one thing.

7:55 AM on May 22, 2012

I wonder what would happen to the ground if hundreds of tones of water is pumped up everyday. Does it cause ground settlement ?

They are going to do bowling at more than ten locations seemingly. I’m not familiar to Geology or civil engineering, so I’d like to know if someone knows it well.

Published: May 22nd, 2012 at 2:15 pm ET


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33 comments to Fukushima worker concerned about ground settlement at plant — What will happen when Tepco starts pumping up 100s of tons of groundwater?

  • Yeah, we wouldn't want the pit the corium is in to fall into a sinkhole.

  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    Speaking of flaming pits of never to be extinguished fire that creates radioactive suffering forever and ever… maybe we are creating this situation, quite literally, without any help from demons or Satan.

    Comparing Contaminated Zones Around Chernobyl And Fukushima Ocean Radiation Released; via A Green Road Blog http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2012/05/comparing-contaminated-zones-around.html

  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    Darn, those dang corium dogs got off the leash again..

    Now I wonder where they went? Anyone seen them? They are kind of orange/red colored, hot to the touch and have a really foul, noxious odor; it will literally kill you.

    Here corium 1, corium 2, corium 3..

    Come get some din din… we have millions of people to radiate… let's get to work now.

  • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

    Fuku is built right on the bedrock. I read a study of Fuku's geology about a year ago, when all this began. The bedrock is sandstone, I believe. So the ground shouldn't settle if they begin pumping water out of wells uphill from the Fuku nukes. The idea here is to intercept ground water as it flows towards the Ocean, with a series of wells located inland from the Fuku nukes. This water will be tested for radiation, then will be dumped into the Ocean. A steel cofferdam built on the Ocean side of the Fuku nukes will trap some of the remaining groundwater, which will be pumped into tanks for treatment before being dumped into the Ocean. This is a whole lot better than continuing to dump large amounts of water into breached Containment Vessels like they have been doing since the Fuku nightmare began.

    • I was also believing that it was on bedrock, but then there are witnesses that claim the whole reactor(s) settled over a meter.

      Now we have the added confusion that a swiss-cheese-like substrate may be developing under all from the MFPs (melted fuel pools)

    • aigeezer aigeezer

      "This water will be tested for radiation, then will be dumped into the Ocean."

      There's an unspoken implication that if it tests high it will not be dumped into the ocean – otherwise why divert it uphill at all?

      So far, I find the plan completely unhelpful. I doubt that the water would have hotspots, the way a pile of debris might, to allow for triage sorting.

      Fog of war. Maybe it all makes sense as more details come out. Maybe not.

      • Sharp2197 Sharp2197

        I saw that same phrase on a story a couple weeks ago, about building the underground seawall. They said "the water would be tested before released"
        but no mention that if tested toxic it would not be dumped.

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      Isn't this the reason they can't encase the site in concrete? The weight would slide the whole thing into the sea.

      I remember an article here about the geology under the plants liquifying, due to the earthquakes and the land mass sliding slowly into the sea.

      In China, the government would hunt down every single one of the people involved that took a bribe and sentence them to death.

      In Japan, they stay protected and keep their money while the country dies.

    • The "bedrock" is both porous and fissured, or groundwater wouldn't be coming into the Rx buildings through cracks in the walls. And, coming into the buildings means that groundwater isn't moving through deep layers – it's right under the surface (and occasionally boiling/steaming into the air, as reported).

      Heck, the very fact that the groundwater has been in contact with corium (become contaminated) and is then flowing out of the cliff into the sea means the corium flows are likely to be following that water toward the cliff. It's much, much easier than melting straight down. They call that the "path of least resistance."

      • Yes and no.

        If the reactors are covered in concrete at this point in time. Many new complexing complications will inhabit the tepco work force.
        By applying concrete:
        The materials will begin Insulating the heat decay and hydrogen buildup. Over time this will likely lead to an implosion of the materials, inside the sfp's and primary containments. Amongst other concerns such as the concern of cooling routes being heavily impacted. If the corium erratically shifts, the cooling system (fire-hoses) would need to be redirected to moderate the growing internal temperatures within the complex. If a concrete structure is built on top of the complex. It would be nearly impossible to redirect the cooling to compete with the rising temperatures within the reactors.

        So entombing them is likely out of the question, until permanent cooling systems are constructed with several backup systems (should anything hamper the main fail safe).

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      Sorry, Fukushima Aiichi is built on landfill and soft sedimentary rock:

      Geology of Fukushima]
      “I have talked with some of my colleagues (geology professors) today, and some of them knew for many years/decades that the bed rock of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuke Power Plant is soft sedimentary rock. They do not know why government (both national and local/prefectural) approved for the construction of the plant on such a bad spot, and can only think of*unethical acts of polititians and the industry.*Also,*my colleagues warn that the type of bed rock, which geologists identify,*and the strength/suitability of the*bed rock, which soil/geo-engineers determine, is different, even though I would*still support that*young sedimentary rocks below the Fukushima Daiichi Nuke Plant is NOT*suitable for constructing buildings that have to endure earthquakes. ”

      Faults unconsidered in the seismic design of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear … Map of Outer sea from Shioyazaki” (Geological Survey Japan, 2001)

  • arclight arclight

    "(2) Ground Subsidence

    Ground subsidence is grought about by the excessive extraction of ground water.
    Once it has subsided, ground cannot return to its former level. This can cause severe damage and problems to architectural structures. Ground subsidence was already observed in Tokyo's Edo-ku and in West Osaka before the Pacific War. After the war, economic stagnation resulted in a temporary pause, but by the mid-1960s it resumed countr-ywide, with some locations even recording a severe drop of more than 20cm annually. After that, as a result of regulations on the use of ground water, land subsidence has gradually decreased. However, even in 1990, 5 locations (a total of 14km2) dropped by more than 4cm, and 18 loca-tions (totaling 360km2) dropped by more than 2cm. Particularly affected are the Northern Kanto Plain, the Kujukuri Plain in Chiba prefecture. and Chikugo-Saga Plain in Saga prefecture (Figure 1-1-27)."


    the link to the diagram shows a water aquifer on sendai plain and other types of subsidence areas around the area…

    go just under half way down to find the section and accompanying diagram

  • Centaur Centaur

    Here's some info about the underground at Daiichi
    (comment from November 9, 2011 at 10:11 am):


    So it's 'mudrock' down there… please forward the link, if you think, it's useful.


  • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

    OK, all. Many thanks for the comments. Thanks for the tune, arclight. 🙂
    Let's deal with water. Ground water flows from inland to the Ocean. In other words, ground water moves constantly into the Ocean. The cofferdam stops groundwater that has come into contact with corium from just flowing on into the Ocean. When the level of the water on the Fuku nuke side of the cofferdam builds up, some of it will be drawn off for filtration prior to being dumped into the Ocean. Can we agree that this is a good thing? Compared with now, where every drop of water TEPCO puts into Containments 1,2,&3 flows right out the bottoms of the buildings and into the Ocean. Look at it this way: There are, let's say, 1 million gallons of ground water underneath the Fuku nukes right now. Build the cofferdam, there is still 1 million gallons of ground water under the nukes, but more water keeps coming down the hill. This water hits the cofferdam, and stops there. The ground water level rises. Put in wells uphill from the Fuku nukes. Pump out some of the water uphill, that hasn't flowed around the coriums in the ground, and which are not radioactive, and pipe it past the nukes into the Ocean. At the cofferdam, the level of groundwater rises somewhat, and you draw off this water fast enough to keep 1 million gallons of ground water under the nukes. Filter it, and dump it. No ground subsidence. Understood?

    • Centaur Centaur

      Understood. Next thing: a waterproof bottom for the cofferdam (or maybe for multiple cofferdams… smaller and propably easier-to-built ones around each reactor block) – what are your ideas on that issue?

  • markww markww

    Pumping out ground water will not only sink the whole complex but crack underlying rock

  • Has it been forgotten that TEPCO admitted to "storing" fuel rods in the ocean shortly after 311?

    I have noticed more and more food products in the stores labeled sea salt. Talk about timing! I would prefer salt that has been dug from the ground safe from radiation for millions of years. Actually, that is sea salt too.

  • richard richard

    A promotional trailer of the movie titled "The Sinking of Japan", the top grossing disaster movie in Japan for 2006.


  • glowfus

    standing near 180 tons of boiling uranium, my big cocern would be a hypothetical ground shift because of a hypothetical water pumping plan too.