Kyodo News, May 1, 2014: Int’l expert doubts ice wall will solve Japanese nuclear plant leaks — An international nuclear expert [Dale Klein, head of TEPCO supervisory panel] expressed skepticism Thursday over [the] plan to set up an ice wall to ultimately stop radioactive water from further increasing [...] Former British Atomic Energy Authority Chairwoman Barbara Judge [...] said there is a need to assess during summer whether the ice wall method would be effective. The remarks by the two overseas experts came at a time when concerns over the plan are being raised by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority and engineering experts. Their opinions may cast a shadow on TEPCO’s plan to begin operating the ice wall by the end of next March.
Dale Klein, head of TEPCO supervisory panel: “I’m not convinced that the freeze wall is the best option. What I’m concerned about is unintended consequences. Where does that water go and what are the consequences of that? I think they need more testing and more analysis [...] No one has built a freeze wall this long for this period of time. Typically, you build a freeze wall for a few months [...] The freeze wall is expensive [and they need to make the] best use of limited resources. [...] I would encourage them to get international advice a little bit more.”
Bloomberg, May 1, 2014: A government-backed plan for a frozen underground wall to limit water contamination at the wrecked Fukushima atomic station needs further vetting for potential risks to the environment, an adviser to the plant’s operator said. The plan, which is intended to keep groundwater from seeping into the basements of the plant’s damaged reactor buildings, may not function as intended because it’s based on untested assumptions about the site’s hydrology, said Dale Klein, who chairs Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee. The wall is scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2015 and will remain in operation through 2020, Mayumi Yoshida, a Tepco spokeswoman, said by phone.
Klein: “Are there any unintended consequences? We’re concerned about safety and environmental protection [...] if Tepco finds technical information that indicates the frozen wall is not the best, they need to communicate that to the government. I know the government has said that they will put in the frozen wall, but I hope that science will trump political policy.”
NHK WORLD, May 1, 2014: Expert: TEPCO’s safety culture still insufficient — A panel of nuclear experts monitoring reforms at the Tokyo Electric Power Company says the utility’s nuclear safety culture has not yet reached the required level. [...] TEPCO officials acknowledge management problems led to troubles with systems used to purify contaminated water, and repeated water leaks. They say the firm has failed to end the vicious cycle of relying on makeshift systems due to lack of time, which leads to fresh troubles. They say they were unable to make full preparations for cleanup work while being aware of a lack of technological capabilities.
Published: May 1st, 2014 at 2:04 pm ET
- NPR: Melted reactor cores’ radioactivity being carried out to sea — Expert warns saltwater will flow into Fukushima plant if ice wall is installed; “Even if it works, it might not be a good thing… can have ‘unintended consequences’” (AUDIO) September 8, 2013
- Officials concerned ice wall to “trigger significant subsidence” and further endanger reactor buildings — Risk of more nuclear material ‘spilling out’ of basements due to dramatic change in groundwater — Numerous hazards “could undermine the plant” — “Impact on entire situation” still being studied (VIDEO) June 3, 2014
- TV: A force beyond human control was unleashed at Fukushima, says former top U.S. nuclear official — Impossible to stop radioactive groundwater flowing into Pacific (VIDEO) September 25, 2013
- Tepco: Trench connected to Unit No. 2 is what’s contaminating groundwater at Fukushima — Has extremely high levels of over 3 billion Bq/liter of radioactive substances — Water is flowing in from reactor building (VIDEO) August 12, 2013
- CNN: Fukushima fallout ‘grossly underestimated’ says new Japan study — “Radioactive poison… contaminating the North Pacific Ocean” — Tepco: ‘Impossible’ to know how much really got out (VIDEO) May 22, 2014