Guardian: Fukushima workers trying to “stop radiation leaking into the sea” — Steel shield to keep contamination from entering Pacific?

Published: March 6th, 2013 at 1:43 pm ET
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Follow-up to: Tokyo Professor: Radionuclides are being released continuously into ocean from Fukushima plant -- Coming from somewhere around reactor housings (CHART)

Guardian, March 6, 2013 at 12:46p ET: Harufumi Uchida [is] a manager whose company is helping to construct a shield to stop radiation leaking into the sea.

Guardian, March 6, 2013 at 12:15p ET: Soon, a steel shield will be driven into the seabed to prevent contamination from the plant from leaking into the Pacific Ocean.

See also: Wall nearly 100 feet tall to be built underground at Fukushima Daiichi to prevent further spread of radioactive contamination -- Construction begins tomorrow, ends June 2014 (PHOTOS)

Published: March 6th, 2013 at 1:43 pm ET
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28 comments

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28 comments to Guardian: Fukushima workers trying to “stop radiation leaking into the sea” — Steel shield to keep contamination from entering Pacific?

  • Steel plates are better than nothing, but will not contain nuclear waste.

    Humans are incapable of engineering anything that can contain nuclear waste
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443819404577635700925553724.html


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  • Jay

    …. I hate to ask : and where do they plan to Divert , Store , Dispose of whatever that containment wall will stop ?

    Or it will pile up behind the wall ready for another guaranteed strong earthquake , colapse of the ground and a generous tsunami ?


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  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    Better idea: Closed Loop Heat Sink
    Extend this cofferdam completely around Buildings1,2,3,&4.
    Doing so diverts ground water around Corium1,2,&3, and then into the Ocean, without contamination.
    Drill extraction wells along water front, inside cofferdam.
    Build cooling towers to cool this water.
    Drill injection wells behind Units1,2,3,&4, inside cofferdam.
    A Closed Loop Heat Sink stops the ongoing contamination of the Pacific Ocean.
    Contaminated Ground Water would stay inside the cofferdam (for the most part),
    keeping the corium cool and stable, but not flowing into the Ocean. :)


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  • I'll say it ONE MORE TIME>! PhilipUpNorth :

    One of the men who worked on the tracking of the coriums in the ground… before he quit in frustration over the mess, said publicly that #3's was down over 4km into the earth as of April 2012.

    The other two are not moving as fast and are not as hot due to less Plutonium being present in the mixture.

    That's the facts.

    Recovery of them…? Not likely !! Yes, they have much debris still down in there from its passage, but that's about it. Water was about the worst thing available to pour on the cores at post-meltdown.

    Now add in the new evidence out of Chernobyl that even GLASS encasement turns to dust before the 30 years mark…?


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    • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

      have to agree PattieB. Philip's concept is excellent but a bit on the grandiose side. Recycling the water is fine, but it's been admitted by TEPCO themselves, water is escaping from the containment structures (what's left of them) and they don't know how. Your explanation is in line with their recent revelations of a 'leak'. I think the worst of scenarios is being realized; that no containment is possible. I hope I'm wrong. More research should be undertaken and ideas like Philip's should be considered for their feasibility.

      BTW. I'd love to see more information on projected location of the coreums. Your description of these moving coreums is excellent…


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    • weeman

      What would be the effect on the corium if it was 4 kilometers deep the temp of the rock at that depth would be extremely high and since it is close to plate boundaries even higher, would the increase in temp possible cause recriticality, that is why I personnely do not think they are that deep, but have broken through containment.
      Looking for answers.


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      • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

        Many thanks for the great comments, PattieB, AFTERSHOCK, and weeman!
        PattieB, I spent an hour searching for the drilling rig worker comments, and for references to the 4km depth of Corium3. Haven't found anything yet. May spend some time on this later. Without a witness that Corium3 is over 4km depth, I will not believe that to be a fact. Earthquakes and heavy rains greatly increase releases of radiation from Fuku, proof enough that Corium1,2,&3 remain near the surface of the ground, but underneath Reactor Buildings1,2,&3.
        AFTERSHOCK, if PattieB is right, then Corium1,2,&3 is now several km into the sandstone, and are truly beyond human control and mitigation. In that case, the human race simply will live with (or die off from) the result. If the corium is at a shallow depth, perhaps something can be done to stop the leaching that is contaminating the Pacific Ocean. Fukushima is a BIG problem. Unless we begin to think BIG about controlling the radiation, releases into air and water will continue.
        weeman, you are correct that the temperature at 4km depth would be very hot, especially in the subduction zone. How hot is it likely to be?
        "Away from tectonic plate boundaries, it is about 25°C per km of depth (1°F per 70 feet of depth) in most of the world.[1]".
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_gradient
        At 4km, the Corium would likely be below the water table. The problem is the reflectivity of surrounding rock.


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        • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

          Dense rock reflects neutrons back into the corium. At 1km depth below Fuku, the rock is "hard sandstone and muddy rocks (Shiramizu layer, intermediate between the Oligocene and Miocene)".
          http://ddata.over-blog.com/4/37/62/00/The-Geology-of-Fukushima.pdf
          At 4km, the corium would likely be surrounded by 100C-200C igneous rock, a very dense and highly reflective type of rock. Perhaps this rock would be reflective enough to allow the corium to reach a sustained chain reaction. But there wouldn't likely be much smoke or steam reaching the surface. There wouldn't likely be an explosion reaching the surface. And there wouldn't likely be some kind of nuclear volcano. IF the plutonium rich Corium3 had reached a depth of 4km by April, 2012, it is likely to be much deeper than that by now.


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          • Sickputer

            PuN gives an excellent prognostication: "IF the plutonium rich Corium3 had reached a depth of 4km by April, 2012, it is likely to be much deeper than that by now."

            SP: Yes…goodbye puny old hydrovolcanic steam explosion (aka Fukushima Syndrome) and hello to: Methane Hydrate Mega Blast! :-)

            Maybe we will find out the depth of the Fukushima sandstone methane hydrate layer…the hard way.

            http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2013/01/03/editorials/new-fossil-fuel-resources/#.UTivQvq9Kc0


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            • Sickputer

              It would be a bitch if Brian Williams comes on the air next Monday and says:

              "Good evening. Today on the second anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster the Asian continent was blown into outer space by a massive unknown underground explosion. There is not believed to be any immediate danger to Americans. The ocean is vast.

              Further details as the world stops spinning so weirdly, but first a word from our new sponsor GE-Warner."


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            • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

              Methane Hydrate can power the world. Many thanks, Sickputer, for mentioning it. Methane Hydrate can be mined from the sea floor. Deep ocean oil drillers have to move it out of the away of drilling equipment, because it is everywhere. Methane Hydrate can be brought to the surface in a controlled way, to become natural gas.
              "Methane clathrate (CH4•5.75H2O[1]), also called methane hydrate, hydromethane, methane ice, fire ice, natural gas hydrate, or gas hydrate is a solid clathrate compound (more specifically, a clathrate hydrate) in which a large amount of methane is trapped within a crystal structure of water, forming a solid similar to ice.[2] Originally thought to occur only in the outer regions of the Solar System where temperatures are low and water ice is common, significant deposits of methane clathrate have been found under sediments on the ocean floors of Earth.[3] The worldwide amount of carbon bound in gas hydrates is conservatively estimated to total twice the amount of carbon to be found in all known fossil fuels on Earth.[4]"
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane_clathrate
              TWICE the amount of…fossil fuels on Earth. So, nuclear is really not needed.


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            • Thad

              SP
              Methane Hydrate Mega Blast! NO!

              Have you research the temperature limit? Max in nature 0*C in salt water 2*C in fresh water. At temps higher than that can't form or exist. At much higher pressure in lab can exist at slightly higher temps 30*C at 14,500 psi.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane_clathrate

              Good section on 'Natural Deposit' and graph showing temp/ pressure phase relationship


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              • Sickputer

                Thad sez…."SP…Methane Hydrate Mega Blast! NO!"

                SP: Why not. Haven't the Dr. Frankensteins been dead wrong about a lot of nuclear fuel behavior already? They swore nuclear fuel could never defeat their defenses.

                Now if and when a 90-ton chunk of nuclear lava burning at 3500 degrees in the center strikes a methane layer and it doesn't go boom…then you can say NO and be correct. Until then we are just a couple of amateur Dr. Detectives trying to guess what happens in weird scenarios. :-)


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                • Thad

                  SP
                  you were speaking of methane hydrate which is methane trapped in a matrix of water ice crystal — my comment was a document showing the temperature limitations- if temperature is too warm for water to freeze there is no ice crystal natrix to trap methane — so no methane hydrate. Read the document.
                  OK about your lava ignited methane explosion where is the oxygen comming from For an explosive mixture 8-12 parts for each part of methane is required.
                  That not Dr Detective– that chemistry. SO again it is NO!


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                  • Sickputer

                    Thad…everytime naked ape chemists learn of new conditions they have to correct their former dogma. Ever hear of underground fissures or new ones created by some big faults moving on the ocean floor? We don't have any idea what could happen down deep under various scenarios. Feel free to say no, but I'll also feel free to say Yes…nothing is impossible, only improbable. Sort of like the big mess at Good Fortune island. That was the impossible that happened.


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                    • Sickputer

                      But btw…thanks for the discourse. I get a kick out of your argue with a stump attitude. But I'm more like granite so you'll have to chip harder. :-) Just kidding. Have a great day.

                      Get some big flounder for mom. She may be immune to Corexit from arguing with you. (Also just kidding). I'm still going to Indian wrestle you for that Gilligan hat. >;->

                      I'm also trying to make a point to others that your posts don't have to be taken personally. Mine don't bother you even if I disagree, right? As long as I remain cordial in my rebuttals. I try to live by the real Golden Rule which is this: The only people you need to get even with are the ones who helped you.

                      You help Thad. So I will get even in the right way.


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                    • Thad

                      SP
                      Voids- fractures- fissures are not empty but not full of oxygen-
                      I'm going with the pale-yellow cheese theory and that mankind is just protien tidbits floating around in Godzillia's fondue


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                    • Sickputer

                      Perhaps a big boom from cracking the hydrate layer won't be chemical, but geology based. Three nuclear cores burn down into a oceanside methane layer that is responsible for stablizing the ocean floor. As the hot MOX cores shatters the ocean floor stability sediment begins to slide down the continental shelf at an alarming rate. Result…a huge tsunami that travels 5,000 miles to inundate fireign shores. Could it happen? Maybe. The search for harvesting the methane in hydrate form to use as fossil fuel is just beginning. We will see if it works out any better than the Dr. Frankenstein nuclear plants. Fairly safe until they escape Pandora's box. Maybe our insatiable need for energy will reveal yet another Pandora's Box.


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                    • Thad

                      SP

                      LOL you keep avoiding science. Methane hydrate MAX temperature is 0 -2 deg C. When warmed to that point the water matrix thaws the methane is liberated and being lighter than air rises and disapates. The very ground around the rectors and the ajacent sea was above that temperature BEFORE the meltdown–


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        • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

          agreed PhilipUpNorth. If correct, PattieB's account leaves us with no viable solutions. It's becoming very depressing for me (and doubtless many others). Still, I'd like to see more information on the migration of these coreums. It's likely much of this is based on speculation, as there's been no successful scientific confirmation to the condition of these downed power plants. No one – including TEPCO – has succeeded in dropping a 'probe' into the bowels of these facilities and come back with credible data. Yet, I was enthralled by PattieB's description of what's happening. She's a technical warrior with a quill as her sword. I want more!!! Top and side view graphics of the adjacent geological strata would be cool. She had such illustrations showing the big sinkhole. Very cool stuff for those who dare look upon Gorgos…


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  • The entire glassification process they are build out at Hanford if now known to be a farce! It doesn't work long term!

    It cost the team the lives of 2 men to gather this information.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=II8lDN4ufI4&feature=player_detailpage

    SO..?! We are now back to square one with not one damned thing we know of to contain it over the long term.


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  • CB CB

    Impossible to stop it. Temporarily slow it down yes, but futile. You can not stop the water table. The corium will still have to be continually cooled and the water will eventually go back into the sea. Waste your money on more duct tape.


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  • moonshellblue moonshellblue

    Steel? how about lead sheeting or plain old lead of course weight has to be considered but steel and the harsh saltwater doesn't seem to be the idle material. JMHO


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  • moonshellblue…: None of it lasts for any length of time. The corium melts the metals. Water is a reflector, and just increases the fission. And lead..? You hold in any heat using it and it melts at real low temps… Glass WAS the thing.. but now even that turns to a powder inside of 30 years time.


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  • unincredulous unincredulous

    Godzilla is a fictional monster that is very popular in Japanese culture. Godzilla came to be through pollution of the sea. Now, you can not tell me that the Japanese were unaware of the possibility. I heard that the leaders in Japan are very childish, in particular they want to literally build Megatron, a fictional giant robot. Well, they better get on it. Previously, I thought it was a stupid idea, because a modern battleship, or an aircraft carrier could easily defeat Megatron. I saw in Popular Mechanics or Popular Science years ago a new Robotic loader, similar to the loader in the movie, Aliens. Well, someone better get on it. And I mean now! They need to remove fuel rods and dig out that core that is on its way to the water table, if not there already. What are you still reading this comment? Get moving, chop chop.


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    I wonder ..who is going to make the money on this one?
    I don't believe this to be a viable solution.
    The corium ..two years out..is well below the reactors..and involved with the water table.
    WHERE ELSE CAN IT BE?


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