Tepco working on pumping Fukushima groundwater into ocean — Drilling wells just outside reactor buildings (PHOTOS)

Published: January 29th, 2013 at 10:22 am ET


Title: Progress Status of Groundwater Bypass Construction and Future Schedule
Source: Tokyo Electric Power Company
Date: January 28, 2013

See Tepco’s handout here

Published: January 29th, 2013 at 10:22 am ET


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  1. Fukushima worker concerned about ground settlement at plant — What will happen when Tepco starts pumping up 100s of tons of groundwater? May 22, 2012
  2. Tepco to dump groundwater from under reactor buildings into ocean — Kyodo: 1,000 tons a day; “Tepco would check contamination level before releasing it” April 24, 2012
  3. “Big Problem”: Cracked floors in Fukushima reactors leaking into groundwater that’s rising and rising and rising due to Tepco wall — “Can no longer be stopped from getting in ocean” — “Worse than that… buildings now on mushy land” (AUDIO) August 28, 2013
  4. Ex-Fukushima Nuclear Worker: Concern about land subsidence at plant due to pumping up groundwater — “I think Tepco knows” May 6, 2013
  5. NHK ‘News Flash’: Tepco admits not working on plan to stop Fukushima radioactive leaks flowing into ocean — Barriers to block massive groundwater contamination ‘on hold’ — Prime Minister and Tepco still cling to lie that it’s staying in port September 27, 2013

9 comments to Tepco working on pumping Fukushima groundwater into ocean — Drilling wells just outside reactor buildings (PHOTOS)

  • moonshellblue moonshellblue

    So TEPCO is going to check levels before dumping into our bread basket, the Pacific Ocean. I know they are running out of storage space but I think the ocean has had enough and I don't trust TEPCO's calculations but since it is already flowing into the Pacific I guess it really doesn't matter truly I grow weary.

  • I Dont Know

    It SHOULD be, but why isn't this illegal?

    Because of something called the "London Dumping Convention"

    85 countries signed the convention, including Japan.

    The London Dumping Convention PROHIBITS "the dumping of mercury, cadmium and other substances such as DDT and PCBs, solid wastes and persistent plastics, oil, high-level radioactive wastes, and chemical and biological warfare agents; and requires special permits for other heavy metals, cyanides and fluorides, and medium- and low-level radioactive wastes."


    "It does not cover discharges from land-based sources such as pipes and outfalls"


    This LOOPHOLE, according to the video "Nightmare Nuclear Waste", is also how France gets away with discharging waste from LaHague into the sea.

  • bwoodfield bwoodfield

    You know, they have inspectors all over the middle east trying to sniff out traces of nuclear usage. Why aren't there inspectors in Japan monitoring the clean-up and dumping? The UN is all over the middle east yet it's their own members that need monitoring.

  • I Dont Know

    Did some research on what other agencies might oversee this–

    1. The United Nations has a "Regional Seas" pollution program

    Japan's branch is called "CEARAC" — http://cearac.nowpap.org/

    However, CEARAC seems to be more interested in "Eutrophication" which is about algae blooms from nitrates, fertilizers, sewage…

    2. China's version of CEARAC is "NOWPAP DINRAC" – http://dinrac.nowpap.org/

    They seem to be focused on marine biotechnology and drug development from marine products.

    3. The U.N. also has the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO — http://ioc-unesco.org/

    Japan is a member, and through the IOC, Japan has a "National Ocean Policy of Japan"

    Article 18 on page 6 of Japan's policy says this:

    "Given that the oceans play an important role in the conservation of the global environment, for example, in the prevention of global warming, the Government shall take such measures as are necessary for the conservation of the marine environment, including measures for the preservation of the biodiversity of the oceans through the conservation and improvement of habitats, the reduction of the pollution load of water flowing into the oceans, the prevention of the discharge of waste materials into the oceans, the prompt control of oil spills caused by shipping and other accidents and for the conservation of natural seascapes."

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    TEPCO is admitting that Corium1,2,&3 is in the mudrock cooled by ground water. The wells are TEPCO's plan to intercept ground water before it encounters the corium and becomes highly contaminated on its way to the ocean. Many ENEnewsers will recall that the second part of this plan was to drive a seel cofferdam along the Harbor to stop ground water from entering the ocean by that route. This work was to have begun in August, 2012, but was delayed.

    One potential problem with this approach may be to increase corium emissions into the air. Corium temperature may also increase. Trading waterborne comtamination for airborne comtamination is probably not something we want to do. We want to maintain the flow of cooling water around the corium, but keep the water from comtaminating the Pacific Ocean.

    The way to do this is to create a Closed Loop Heat Sink, as previously described. The extraction wells they are now digging would become injection wells. Another set of extraction wells would be drilled on the inland side of the cofferdam along the edge of the Harbor. The cofferdam would extend from the Harbor uphill past Reactor Buildings1,2,3,&4, and then behind the wells, forming a rectangle to keep new groundwater out. The extracted ground water may be hot from coming into contact with the corium. It can be cooled by building one or two cooling towers. If using the wells as planned doesn't work out, I hope somebody at TEPCO considers this idea.

    • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

      Amazing Phillipupnorth.. and Japan is currently spending millions to drill to the mantle of the Earth.. why don't they undertake drilling to save the Earth.. drill underneath those coriums and find a way to isolate them.. where are their priorities?

      Makes me want to know what they are really drilling for, what could be more important than Fukushima?

      No doubt the mantle drilling program has tax dollars involved one way or another.. these enormously expensive research and development projects always do.

  • razzz razzz

    The balancing act for this well pumping to work is almost impossible.

    At best, the underground freshwater flow under the units can be slowed.

    At worst, they pump to fast and draw radioactive contaminated water into the wells and irradiate even more of the plant site. IOW, since all the Units' basements leak, some processed cooling water used in the cooling loop will find its way to these new wells besides the fresh groundwater mixing in and probably some saltwater (high tide, oh no), all of which will be radioactively contaminated.

    Drawings say they lowered the water table at #3 well by about 4 meters (12+ feet). Everything is going to flow to that low point.

    Initially they might control the water levels but in due time the new wells will attract the entire water table to them.

    If they don't stop the basement leaks all this will be futile. If the melted blobs are sitting below the concrete into natural earth, then what is the point of doing this? Watch out for unintended consequences. But either way, groundwater pumped or left alone will still become contaminated by the melted blobs.

    Anyway, now you know what the odd shapes hanging off the crane cables were/are, drilling rig tools.