Nuclear experts concerned about water flow “reversing” due to Fukushima underground ice plan — Even more highly radioactive liquid inside reactor buildings to enter aquifer?

Published: August 27th, 2013 at 11:09 am ET
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The Japan Times, Aug. 26, 2013: In its response to questions, the prime minister’s office said METI will pump more “liquid glass” or sodium silicate into the ground as one measure to block radioactive groundwater from spreading and reaching the sea. [...] Tepco has admitted that radioactive groundwater is flowing into the Pacific. The government estimates the flow at 300 tons a day.

Wall St. Journal, Aug. 26, 2013: “Because it has to be dealt with as soon as possible, we decided that the government will step in and help build underground ice shields to block the groundwater from flowing into the reactor buildings,” Mr. Motegi said.

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013: The Government has recently come up with a radically new engineering plan to cope with the groundwater problems. The idea of freezing the groundwater, or “artificial tundra”, was proposed by the construction giant Kajima Co., and was adopted by a Government committee of experts that reviewed the water management at Fukushima Daiichi. [...] It would have to run for more than 10 years while the reactors need coolant circulation. There is also a risk of reversing the water flow, making the highly radioactive water seep out from the reactor buildings to the aquifer. TEPCO is now considering the proposal, but does not seem as enthusiastic about the idea as the Government does.

From Yesterday: Nuclear Engineer: Estimated 276 quadrillion Bq of Cs-137 entered Fukushima basements -- Triple Chernobyl total release -- A portion "has already made its way to aquifer, whence it can easily flow into sea"

See also: Japan Times: Extreme contamination in Fukushima reactor buildings 'most likely' mixing into aquifer, reveals Tepco -- Bloomberg: Could this flow downstream to Tokyo and present a big risk? (VIDEO)

 

Published: August 27th, 2013 at 11:09 am ET
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72 comments

Related Posts

  1. Japan Times: Extreme contamination in Fukushima reactor buildings ‘most likely’ mixing into aquifer, reveals Tepco — Bloomberg: Could this flow downstream to Tokyo and present a big risk? (VIDEO) August 26, 2013
  2. Expert: Land under Fukushima reactor buildings at risk of turning into liquid — Area near sea could become like mud August 20, 2013
  3. AP: ‘Time bomb’ in leaking Fukushima trenches — If Tepco removes extremely contaminated water as planned, it will only make more flow in since reactor buildings connect to trenches August 12, 2013
  4. Marine Chemist: Highly contaminated waste flowing in aquifer below Fukushima — Mag: Groundwater can ‘erupt’ from seafloor offshore — Gov’t expert warned about radioactive substances ‘springing up’ in Pacific (PHOTOS) April 6, 2014
  5. Reuters Exclusive: Barrier is breached at Fukushima says official — ‘Highly radioactive’ water entering ocean — Will flow ‘extremely fast’ if it reaches surface — Tepco sorry for trouble August 5, 2013

72 comments to Nuclear experts concerned about water flow “reversing” due to Fukushima underground ice plan — Even more highly radioactive liquid inside reactor buildings to enter aquifer?

  • 21stCentury 21stCentury

    "nuclear experts" = oxymoron

    HDD horizontal directional drilling tech can drill refrigeration-tubes straight down 1000 meters, then make a 90degree turn and continue drilling horizontal 10,000 meters, then turn upward to return to the surface.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJ64MvfJfkw


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  • hbjon hbjon

    What a waste of time, money, and humanity. Do you know how long those tubes will last underground at FDNPP wreckage? Not a day. Because, before they even finish the project an EQ will render the system non-functional. Perhaps your inventing and marketing a new line of "A/C stop leak". I believe they've been pumping down nitrogen for over two years. Is that not good enough? I'd like to see what happens when one of those fancy drill rigs hit corium though.


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  • weeman

    It's a good a idea as any and can be done in short order, also the ice is self sealing, if leaks occur.
    I imagine the frozen ground like a bowl containing the radioactive water and a closed loop cooling system, all good if we manage to empty the SFP,s before they collapse and make the site unworkable.
    Time is the enemy and governments are famous for indecision and studies.


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    • We Not They Finally

      You're kidding, right? The water is from THE REACTORS? These articles coming up do not even MENTION the melted-through coriums!! Good God! They plan to freeze WHAT? Go three miles down and miles around, all the way into the ocean to turn it into an ice skating rink?

      And the site is ALREADY "unworkable"! No one can work there for more than a few minutes at a time without getting fried!!

      And there are no "leaks"!! It's gushing, pouring, spewing!!

      Please, weeman, you are normally sensible. Don't go the ways of the propaganda machine. Reality is obviously TERRIBLE. No one wants to look. Yet there it is.


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      • weeman

        As you probably know I am not a proponent of the corium three miles down, I do believe containment has been compromised, to what degree I do not know and you may well be right.
        So if you are not into ice wall, do you think they are going to put a concrete wall three miles down, I don't care how you stop the flow of contaminants in ocean but it has to be stopped, yes no.
        My original idea was to build ice wall before contaminated water reached ocean and contaminated the site, so that you could safely install concrete walls, to late now.
        You have to admit we can only mitigate this accident and will never be fully contained and any engineering will be cutting edge.
        No matter how you handle accident, you can't have everybody agree with the decisions to be made.
        Wtnf we fight the good fight together, much appreciation for your effort and through discussion we will get the answers .


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  • bwoodfield bwoodfield

    So, out of curiosity, what would the implications of dumping crushed dry ice in to cool the plant (other than the obvious build-up of carbon dioxide)? Majority of the UK NPPs use carbon dioxide to cool the reactors so we know it is possible to use it. It would remove the continual build-up of waste water and stem the flow out to the ocean.


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  • ion jean ion jean

    Vermont Yankee NPP closing in2014 says Entergy!!! Yay, less tritium to breathe…they say its money but maybe it's the impossible tritium to VT groundwater and CT River leaks…vpr.net VT Edition airing live right now!


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  • bo bo

    Fantastic !!!!!
    Now let's get pilgrim shut down too !!!


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  • jackassrig

    A refrigeration system is basically a steam cycle operating in reverse at a lower temperature. It has to be closed cycle. The compressor adds energy to the refrigerant, rejects heat at the condensor, expands to a lower temperature through the expansion valve, picks up heat in the coil, and returns to the compressor. In order to cool the refrigerant must change phase from a liquid to a vapor-coil and expansion valve. Things cool when there is evaporation. LNG could be used but it is not a closed cycle. So after the LNG boils off and cools the vapor would go to the atmosphere. TEPCO would have much methane floating around the plant. Propane and methane can be used as a refrigerant but I don't believe they would be the optimum choice. Either way much propane and methane would be floating around FUKU unless a closed cycle is used. Any way TEPCO goes to freeze the ground is going to be energy intensive. FUKU is a huge plant and the refrigeration must go on for decades. IMO


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  • Mankind always loses to Mother Nature. We have never had to divert an underground river. An underground dam has to be built. Japan will be broke if it does it right. Japan wont spend the money so these half measures leave them pissing in the wind while lying to everyone. Meanwhile obummer is positioning usa to waste another ton of money invading another mid east country. What useless leaders we have.


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  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    There is still work required until the "New World Order" can prevail…conspiracy?


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    • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

      This 'reversal' stuff..
      Do they mean..the plant might becoming inundated with groundwater?

      Video: Quake shifted Fukushima underground water and pushed it to surface all at once — Still gushing out 18 months later
      Jan. 27 2013

      http://enenews.com/video-quake-shifted-fukushima-underground-water-and-pushed-it-to-surface-all-at-once-still-gushing-out-18-months-later

      See diagram..
      Something similar..IMHO..is going on at Fukushima Npp..


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      • pure water

        Dear Heart, what if:
        - the last 2 months have shown us the results of massive underground explosions. The depth have to be tens of kilometers underneath, may be in the second underground water basin. I have read somewhere it goes to the continent. (if this is the case, China, both Koreas and Russia will scream at some point)
        - the explosions have scattered the fuel in all directions, including upwards, and this is how R3 smoked, and the water got heavily contaminated.
        - now the soil and rocks should be very unstable. The injections of this 2 component material may be aimed to solidifying the ground, because stopping the water this way is absurd, as we can see.
        - the smaller portions of fuel may slowly calm down, but they contain certain amounts of several transuranium elements, which have significantly smaller critical masses (curium and californium for example). I hope they were produced in proportions like in normally functioning reactor and then the new explosions seem unlikely.
        - if this is the case, large area contains portions of fuel and it is scattered at different depths, so most probably it will stay there, at least the deepest portions. And decontamination of water and soil becomes a completely new task. Now they have to measure and hunt for more coriums, though less active. And fight with fuel rods and water contamination.
        I just try to form some kind of consistent hypothesis of what is going on, but you know this kind of things are speculations,…


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        • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

          Many thanks, purewater, for your igreat analysis.
          (Personally, it is just this type of thoughtful analysis that I had hoped to read when I began reading ENEnews on 311.)
          PattieB has concluded that the corium is 60-70km inland, west of FDNPP, and has entered the Pacific Plate, subducting under Japan.


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          • flatsville

            … thoughtful analysis that I had hoped to read…

            I understand why you have been largely disappointed.


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          • Cisco Cisco

            PUN…I thought I had read (someone at ENE) who provided a guesstimate of how far/fast corium would travel underground. I thought I remember the figure 187'/day. Somewhere else in my surfing, I found another guesstimate of 220 ft./day. I thought it was PattieB who offered the 187' figure…not sure?

            If those guesstimates were generally reliable, that would put the corium out/down to about 3 miles. Your thoughts?


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            • pure water

              Gravitation and coriums` high temperature, able to melt soil and rocks on the way.Coriums are heavy and dense. Water poured over them is not able to cool the whole mass. It can run after them, help to form a crust, but the inside is working and producing heat.


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            • We Not They Finally

              Cisco, the info on how fast the coriums travel is very scary/interesting. The Japanese tell so many lies, but one of the recent articles said that they feared that contaminated water was coming up from UNDER THE SEABED. Would that possibly be a result of THIS? I don't know how far down the seabed is.

              But if that's true, how can it possibly be fixable?? Dumping massive-massive-massive amounts of boron right into the sea continually or some such? (I really don't know.)


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  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Speculations are good..since this has never happened before..but be assured it will happen again if we continue on with this Nuclear Technology folly. Its not a very good jobs program in my opinion..


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Hypothesis is the constant tool of science.
    The people deserve this thought process.


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    • pure water

      It is more like a product of imagination guided by scattered information, but from a long period. Might be useful.


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      • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

        Yes..and no..there are known variables here.
        Indication from all 'sectors'.
        Geologically.. a mess.
        Condition of the reactors..even by visuals alone…FUBAR.
        Corrosion..subsidence.
        The general activity of nuclear material..etc…in consideration.
        The activity of the corium can be debated..but generally I agree with PattyB..

        These concepts..are a solid basis for hypothesis..
        In absence of hard data..yes.
        But it seems those with possession of the hard data..are the most clueless of all…and/or the biggest liars…(combo platter)


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        • pure water

          One of the lies – that, they do not know where are the coriums, speaks clearly that the truth is very, very unpleasant.


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          • We Not They Finally

            Well, how about WHEREVER they are specifically, they are already melted THREE MILES DOWN so they are unreachable, unfixable, fissioning ongoing, and even the truth would not help FIX it by now?

            Tragically, that would be as "very, very unpleasant" as the lying. At the same time, if there is gong to be a massive die-off, humanity at least deserves the dignity of knowing HOW AND WHY.


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Freezing takes energy, is the government doing this in order to start up reactors at other power plants? …better not. We need to hear what Gundersen and others say about this.


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    • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

      Worried about this early on as well, TBP.
      When you research it, this process seems to be pretty energy efficient, however.
      They will have flowing groundwater continually trying to heat up the wall.
      They may have a buildup of hot water inside the Wall, due to criticalities of the residual nuclear fuel there.
      So the frozen wall may require more energy at Fukushima than would be required elsewhere.
      We shall see.
      No doubt Abe will use any excuse to restart the nukes.

      Of course, they could just extend the Impermeable Wall in a rectangle completely around Units1-4, which would
      Do the exact same thing,
      Require no energy to operate,
      Be done more quickly, since contractor is already on-site, and has the wall 1/4 complete.
      (To me, this is a no-brainer.
      But to TEP.gov, making this leap seems to be extremely difficult.). ;)


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      • We Not They Finally

        How can this be "a no-brainer"? To the contrary! Already the impermeable wall near the ocean is NOT decreasing radioactivity in the ocean. So if it does not at least go THREE MILES DOWN to the melted coriums, to what avail? And the coriums will sink yet further.

        How can any calculation about a WALL work if there is no consideration of DEPTH???

        And all damming up the water seems to do anyway is make the land so hyper-saturated that what is left of the reactor buildings will all fall down.

        PUN, you seem to have such great ideas, but are you sure you are not in DENIAL? (Gets to the best of us…)


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  • dosdos dosdos

    What in the &#)@*! is METI doing getting involved in this?


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  • moonshellblue moonshellblue

    I don't know about this freezing sounds to me like it would further jeopardize the integrity of the buildings and turn the ground into even more of a swamp but perhaps that would not be the case. I do think the coriums are splattered everywhere under the reactor buildings and have already reached the underground aquifer. I hope I'm totally mistaken. Time will tell.


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  • unincredulous unincredulous

    I suggest watching National Geographic Documentary, "Megastructures: Extreme Railroad." The challenge of building structures to withstand the freezing and thawing of tundra are immense. Could this "plan" really be a way to "accidentally" see what happens when these spent fuel pools collapse. Maybe someone wants to study that. I am not not believing what I am seeing. It's like watching idiots play. The Three Stooges make more sense on average.


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  • CHERNOBYL WITHOUT US

    See aerial pictures of Chernobyl and nearby city of Pripyat being taken over by the forest.

    Also see before-and-after pictures of the area.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2402589/Vanishing-Chernobyl-Aerial-photos-devastated-town-radiation-disaster-zone-reclaimed-nature.html

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Of course Chernobyl was a minor accident compared with the real global catastrophe unleashed by Fukushima and the irresponsible response so far by the government of Japan and TEPCO.

    http://ottersandsciencenews.blogspot.ca/


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  • Low Level Radiation Causes Premature, Accelerated Aging, Chronic Diseases In Young, Increased Premature Deaths; via @AGreenRoad
    http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2012/12/low-level-radiation-causes-premature.html


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  • We Not They Finally

    Isn't this all backwards and upside-down? They're saying the problem is "the groundwater flowing into the reactor buildings"? Most of the coriums are long since way OUTSIDE those buildings since they….. MELTED THROUGH!!!!

    And this is "the back-up team" selling this? That wonderful, totally complicit, pro-nuke government??


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  • ftlt

    GENERAL WARNING!!!

    Do not confuse applied water in the ground "groundwater" with the pre-existing and deeper Aquifer Groundwater…

    Note: This may or may not include the nearest to the surface water table/s… This is not being made clear..

    Certainly, it is clear, the different stories make this easy to misunderstand …

    I have seen this all over the place on this site too…

    Much of the corium meeting the water table and or aquifer discussion on here has lead to this confusion of the definition "groundwater" on here..

    Both water tables (normally, meaning the first close to surface waters – that can vary greatly by location) and aquifers (which can be multiple in layers and quite deep) – both can be very localized and small or massive in extent..

    In general, if we knew what was going on underground with water, we would not have half the problems we are having with it – FUFU aside..


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    • Agreed, spot on…

      No one knows that lurks underground YET!

      One clue….

      The deeper they drill and measure the higher the radiation levels.


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    • We Not They Finally

      Yes, it is deliberately and intentionally confusing. Water in the reactors is NOT the aquifer. Groundwater is not what happens to be left over in the reactor vessels. Fuel in the (largely empty) reactors is NOT melted coriums deep into the earth.

      By the way, black is not white and up is not down. But that would be hard to figure out from the official statements!


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  • truthseek truthseek

    After major rains, area water table rises near
    my home, putting all basement(s) at greater risk
    … my sump pump would be chugging away …

    water (table) rise(ing) ~ complex is sinking
    either or [both]… Run like hell! nLOL.


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