Asahi Shimbun, June 3, 2014: Ground broken for frozen soil wall at Fukushima nuclear plant [...] numerous risks and potential hazards exist. [...] The Nuclear Regulation Authority approved the application on the condition that the work would not damage the network of underground pipes already in place [...] [Officials] must carefully monitor construction work for possible cracks in the underground piping that could cause leaks of the freezing agent. They also must ensure that the frozen soil wall does not cause a dramatic change in the groundwater flow that could cause radiation-contaminated water in the basements of the reactor buildings to spill out. [...] But there is no assurance that the frozen wall will reduce the volume of contaminated water by the levels forecast. Groundwater could still flow under the 30-meter wall and enter the reactor buildings.
NHK WORLD, June 2, 2014: [The NRA] has yet to authorize the entire construction plan as studies on some technical issues are still underway. [...] NHK’s reporters [...] point out that the wall will also change the flow of groundwater into the plant, and this might cause radioactive water in the buildings’ basements to seep out. The utility is being urged to work out measures to prevent this from happening. They also note that the construction is taking place in a area with seaside tunnels filled with contaminated water that are linked to the reactor buildings.
NHK transcript, June 2, 2014:
- 0:15 in — NHK: The project is being met with concerns from the public over its safety.
- 2:00 in — Toyoshi Fuketa, NRA: We need to verify if it really works or not. We also must study to make sure the ice wall does not have a further impact on the entire situation.
- 3:00 in — NHK: [NRA officials] haven’t authorized the entire plan yet. They’re still trying to find out if there’s any negative impacts that the wall of ice will have on the environment.
Kyodo, June 2, 2014: [Tepco eventually convinced regulators] it will not trigger significant subsidence that could further endanger the buildings. Evidence of land subsidence was seen at one of the buildings early in the crisis and more recently under some of the hundreds of water tanks set up on land overlooking the reactor buildings. [...] the utility said it still needs the [NRA's] permission for work that could undermine the plant’s safety.
Published: June 3rd, 2014 at 12:24 pm ET