Top Nuclear Official: “Ground sinking” beneath Fukushima reactor buildings a concern — Gov’t experts looking closely at risks from changes to flow of underground water

Published: April 21st, 2014 at 10:41 am ET
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58 comments


NHK WORLD, Apr. 21, 2014: Japan’s nuclear regulator and experts are questioning the safety of plans to build frozen walls to […] prevent groundwater from flowing beneath the reactor buildings. […] The government and TEPCO want to start construction in June. […] The NRA invited experts to a meeting last Friday […] NRA Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa expressed concern about the risk of the ground sinking. […] They said all the risks need to be addressed further. The NRA decided to continue to closely look into the safety of the planned frozen walls.

NHK WORLD, Apr. 21, 2014: Some contamination in the groundwater drawn from near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is making the area’s fishermen uneasy, as the plant’s operator plans to release it into the sea. Tokyo Electric Power Company has a plan to pump up groundwater and release it into the Pacific Ocean […]

USGS: “More than 80 percent of the identified subsidence in the United States is a consequence of human impact on subsurface water”

See also:

  • [intlink id=”asahi-buildings-at-fukushima-plant-could-start-floating-from-continuous-flow-of-groundwater-expert-ice-wall-may-weaken-soil-and-cause-buildings-to-topple-audio” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]
  • [intlink id=”ap-experts-warn-of-ground-sinking-at-fukushima-plant-tepco-adviser-reactor-building-structures-likely-degraded-containment-degradation-concerns” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]
  • [intlink id=”fukushima-nuclear-worker-plant-area-may-have-land-subsidence-due-to-pumping-up-groundwater-i-think-tepco-knows-that” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]
  • [intlink id=”japan-times-land-supporting-fukushima-reactor-buildings-at-risk-of-liquefying-area-near-sea-in-danger-of-turning-to-mud” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]
  • [intlink id=”senior-scientist-fukushima-giant-ice-wall-make-worse-radioactive-release-ocean-saltwater-intrusion-side-effects-good-all-audio” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]
  • [intlink id=”reporter-theres-concerns-about-fukushima-ice-wall-increasing-risk-of-recriticality-bbc-professor-warns-it-could-work-as-a-neutron-reflector-video” type=”post”]BBC: Professor warns underground ice walls could become ‘neutron reflectors’ and cause nuclear chain reaction[/intlink]
Published: April 21st, 2014 at 10:41 am ET
By

58 comments

Related Posts

  1. Nuclear experts concerned about water flow “reversing” due to Fukushima underground ice plan — Even more highly radioactive liquid inside reactor buildings to enter aquifer? August 27, 2013
  2. TV: Trouble reported with inner ‘ice wall’ at Fukushima; Highly radioactive water underground won’t freeze — Tepco: “We can’t make temperature low enough” after trying for months; Fluctuating water levels beneath Unit 2 blamed — Expert: Ground can liquify around reactors, form sinkholes (VIDEO) June 17, 2014
  3. Anonymous Official: Part of ground to sink beneath Fukushima reactors from ice wall being built — Gov’t: Biggest fear is ground sinkage and buildings being destabilized — Tepco: It will sink up to 16mm, but should be ok — Scientist: “People have lost confidence in Tepco” (AUDIO) May 27, 2014
  4. Record level of Cobalt-60 detected in groundwater at Fukushima — Hundreds of times above any measurement ever published for underground water (MAP) February 19, 2014
  5. Risk of “disturbing crust” around Fukushima reactors from plan to reduce amount of groundwater — Nuclear Officials: Land could start ‘sinking’ — WSJ: Changing water flow may cause highly contaminated leak May 21, 2014

58 comments to Top Nuclear Official: “Ground sinking” beneath Fukushima reactor buildings a concern — Gov’t experts looking closely at risks from changes to flow of underground water

  • Southbound Southbound

    There are two types of nuclear power plants in this world… Those that have failed, and those that have yet to fail.

    Shut them down. Shut them all down!

  • jec jec

    The ENENEWS webcam discussions definitely make the "SINKING" ground theory..'hold water.' ENENEWS webcam observers see fogs and emissions after storms with waves(huge white water over the sea walls seen from long disances!) hitting the shorelines, and with earthquakes shaking up the mess.

    • jec jec

      OH..and add the tilting vent stacks..specifically the damaged one by Reactor 1, and the really off center stack threatening Reactor 4. All silent on this by TEPCO. Subsidence is 'harmful rumor' we guess.

  • Obvious Obvious

    Send in the Norwegians to engineer worlds biggest above and below ground sarcophagus. Design engineering for geographic stability, think beyond the site, into the ocean, water barriers to block the ocean, move the ocean back. Create land where beaches and waves are now. Plant radiation absorbing vegetation around facilities. Build in lots and lots of heavy, radiation proof (Ha!) beams to secure the land surrounding the site. Build better filtration systems, ah, build the worlds biggest nuclear waste facility. Let the gangsters pay for it.

    • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

      Good thinking, Obvious.
      The Russians built a sarcophagus over Chernobyl.
      True, it wasn't all that effective, and now must be covered over.
      But the Russians actually built a sarcophagus.
      What has Japan done?
      Zero, zip, nada.
      Japan, the ultimate and eternal victim of the nuclear age.

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    Sinking ground can be controlled by injecting water into the ground.
    With an underground impermeable wall surrounding Reactors1-4, the groundwater level inside the wall can be maintained by simply adding or withdrawing waler as needed.
    Filling up the corium lava tubes with concrete will also help with the sinking problem.

    (IMO, the frozen wall project is a ploy to reopen Reactor6, to generate the power needed for the frozen wall.)

    • Obvious Obvious

      That had crossed my mind, too, why create a new energy need when trying to work with less… Good. Points and ideas.

      • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

        Many thanks, Obvious.
        This is why I have always advocated an underground Impermeable Wall, of interlocking sheet steel pilings, like is already 1/4 completed.
        It needs to be run all the way around Reactors1-4.
        They have to begin extending that wall from beside Reactor1, and complete the wall inland from Reactors1-4 FIRST.
        Then complete the harbor side LAST.
        That way, they won't flood the ground with backed-up groundwater, like they did before.
        This is a much better idea than an underground frozen wall, and won't need to be powered for the next 1,000 years, or more.

        Japan is a very sophisticated society, with smart minds and great science.
        But the TEPCO engineers are certainly a bunch of dummies, aren't they? 😉

        • Obvious Obvious

          Yeppers – if we could vote on best ideas for Fukushima, I'd vote for that one.

        • We Not They Finally

          How would they know how far to dig down? How would they dig down at all without getting fried? How would ADDING water to already sodden land prevent SINKING?

          Even the current location of the coriums has not been released, much less their projected locations or how far down they may sink.

          Not an engineer here, but haven't a clue how they even PLAN for this this late in the game. Not that they've done one intelligent or humane thing since this all began. At least this would be a plan. But not a clue how it is feasible.

          • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

            Please excuse my tardy response, WNTF. All good questions.

            "Even the current location of the coriums has not been released, much less their projected locations or how far down they may sink."
            The first priority at Fukushima is to map the corium. Period. Job One.
            (Should have been done long ago.)
            The public deserves to know.
            Release your Corium Map, TEPCO! 😉

            "How would they know how far to dig down?"
            The aquifer is bounded by a layer of less permeable rock, at about the 100' depth.
            The steel pilings are pounded into this less permeable rock layer, in order to deflect all groundwater away from any corium debris in the ground under the reactor buildings.

            "How would they dig down at all without getting fried?"
            Workers would be well away from the corium lava tubes, and can safely do the work. In this photo, note all the workers standing around. The pilings are pounded into the ground.
            http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-9dFSDaTYu2U/UeJKT0-U5nI/AAAAAAAAF4k/EdUY-0bFlV0/s1600/FukushimaImpermeableWall-1.JPG

            "How would ADDING water to already sodden land prevent SINKING?"
            If you pump water out of the ground, the dryer land sinks.
            If you inject water into the ground, the supporting capacity of the land improves.
            Hydrology 101. 🙂

          • Obvious Obvious

            I am no engineer and so do not have the answers, and I didn't say add water to already sodden land. There needs to be one or more super structures with a super structure foundation built. Treat the area like the seismically active area it is and the site like the future waste management unit it is…

            • Obvious Obvious

              And I see now your comment was not for me. 🙂 My idea is to move the water out with barriers and fill the area with soil, plant radiation absorbing plants and engineer for seismic instability.

  • Socrates

    Soils engineering for hydrology is one aspect of the problem; then we need seismologists and nuclear engineers. Maybe mankind should face up to the unique challenges presented by Fukushima rather that engaging in wars, sending people to the moon, or conducting the Manhattan Project.

    Those in charge, and it clearly isn't the People, should get their priorities straight. Sometimes it isn't about the money.

    The criminal syndicate behind nuclearism uses it to control the world's financial system. The UN Security Council is controlled by nuclear powers. This system is a cult of death by mutually assured destruction of the entire planet. The peaceful atom accomplishes the exact same thing but more slowly.

    The best chance for humanity lies not in going to Mars, but in honestly addressing Fukushima, WIPPS, Hanford and other places where the war machine dumped its waste.

    To engineer the mitigation effort requires begins with a frank admission that the economic system is one of careless and irresponsible exploitation of the fragile environment for energy and war. There is no other way to put this into words. Mankind's future never looked dimmer with the so-called "advances," which ignore sound science pointing to unacceptable risk.

    The entire fiasco of nuclear energy is about geopolitics. Yet, what passes for world government helps promote more nuclear energy while covering up the damages.

    I hope that the next president of the United States will be…

    • Socrates

      Anti-nuclear. The time to oppose the spread of nuclear energy was back in the 60s. Even by then, above-ground testing had contaminated the entire planet.

      The child abuse policy of "duck and cover" inflicted on second grade children is a crime against humanity. The "missile gap" was non-existent. Even Tricky Dick's jaw dropped at this assertion.

      Now, the NeoCon war-mongers want to confront Russia over Crimea and Ukraine. Why don't they worry about mitigating Fukushima. Instead, Japan will be militarized in the Asia Pivot.

      Full Spectrum Dominance of a dying planet means nothing in the long run. Money and power is what they worship. The greedy psychopaths are digging our graves with their weapon of choice.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    "Gov’t experts looking closely at risks from changes to flow of underground water"

    The original earthquake already did that…
    The flow of underground water has already changed.
    And they don't know how so..
    They need more than specialists ..they need those more well rounded in these areas.. a 'wildcatter' or two wouldn't hurt .
    They need people that know 'a little something'.
    This has got nothing to do ..with the groundwater they store and pump.
    This is an issue of the groundwater below the reactors themselves…that which is in contact with the corium.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    There is no other direction but ..down.

    Fukushima Nuclear Reactor unit 4 is sinking Lord help us all.
    Oct 8 2012

    Professor Mitsuhei Murata, former Japanese Ambassador to Senegal and Switzerland

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yn0bXqT1Yhw

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    PS.. The only thing I disagree with Professor Murata about is..the condition of reactor 4.

  • Nick

    I spent a good bit of time last week examining run-off from cranberry bogs in New Jersey.

    Very slight changes in elevation caused water to flow in directions detrimental to a road surface. A road crew added fill and the flow was slowed down.

    Mind you, this is Joisey, flatsville, USA.

    The cranberry bogs are set with 4" differential in height, to acheieve the "ice-cube tray" effect.

    Watching, this "flat" current flow got me wondering about the H20 problems at Fukushima.

    If the coriums are gravitized, not much we can do to stem the flow of radioactive water into the Pacific.

    The stuff is probably bubbling up many miles off shore beyond any breakwater boundary plans.

    We had best admit that this is a FUBAR'd situation and plan our lives (short as they have become) accordingly.

    No wishful thinking or ingestion of zeolites will help at this point.

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      At some point the facilities will be below sea level – if not already – and the salt water will start rising and flooding everything, mixing with the freshwater.

      Remember all the dangers of cooling with salt water, but they had no choice? What about everything sitting in salt water?

      • We Not They Finally

        Bright spot?: Once it's all sunk into the ocean, no one can say it is contaminating the ocean, because it will BE the ocean.

        Oh, but that's a DARK spot, you say? A VERY dark spot?…..

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Pretty sure all of ingested plenty..but not anything that we would want to ingest. 🙁

    Nobody wants to eat (MRCWP) Manmade Radiation Contamination Waste Products.. 🙁

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    oops..Pretty sure all of "us" ingested plenty.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    "“More than 80 percent of the identified subsidence in the United States is a consequence of human impact on subsurface water”

    A very serious statement.
    Just too hard ..to put up solar panels ..a wind turbine on the roof.
    Conservation out of the question.

    Destroying ..that on which we tread.
    INSANE.

  • Nick

    .."As well as the bypass, an impermeable underground wall has been built between the reactors and the sea and plans are being made to freeze the ground around the buildings. Together, these measures should greatly reduce the movement of groundwater."
    http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS-Extraction-of-Fukushima-groundwater-starts-0904144.html

    ""Japan has established a good foundation to improve its strategy and to allocate the necessary resources to conduct the safe decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi," said team leader Juan Carlos Lentijo, IAEA Director of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology. "The situation, however, remains very complex, and there will continue to be challenging issues that must be resolved to ensure the plant's long-term stability."
    http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/2014/decommissioning.html

    Neither of these entities seem especially concerned or worried about Fukushima's water crisis.

    Are you surprised?

  • Nick

    Somewhat OT:
    The Effective Energy Harvesting Method from Natural Water Motion Active Transducer (WMAT)
    http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2014/ee/c4ee00588k#!divAbstract

    Maybe the TEPCOns can generate electricity from the groundwater flow into the sea?

  • Ontological Ontological

    I know how to 'measure' the sinking of R4 building by shadows at night from a light shinning on it's side. But a bee de beep bot a shill was using disputed the posted claim by asking astronomical questions when I had NOT indicated any astro-light source, so it got discredited. It IS still sinking however. More worried about WIPP however. The two massive moron messes will destroy the gene pool basically forever! Have another Devil's brew Soc Puppet.

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    Owners of nuclear power plants in the United States are REQUIRED to maintain adequate funds in a Decommissioning Escrow Account in order to fund decommissioning.
    http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/part050/part050-0075.html
    However, over the years, nuclear plant ownership has been passed on from power generating utilities to shell corporations, whose only assets are nukes.
    This has been done, in part, to shield the assets of major utilities from liability lawsuits related to leaks and accidents.
    Shell corporation profits have been paid out to stockholders every year, leaving behind few additional funds to be tapped if an accident forces early decommissioning, as happened at Fukushima.
    Has the NRC monitored the disposition of decommissioning funds?
    Have fund requirements kept pace with the real costs of decommissioning a nuclear power plant in today's dollars?
    If the funds for decommissioning are THERE and AVAILABLE, why aren't the 24 GE Mark I power plants in operation in the US being decommissioned right now.
    Something smells, don't you think?
    Inquiring minds want to know.

    Decommission GE Mark I Plants NOW!
    Peace.

    • We Not They Finally

      Sort of like systematically robbing the social security fund of people's hard-earned money. I doubt that they have a clue where that's gone either.

      • We Not They Finally

        Or forcing the U.S. Post Office to fund medical care 75 years ahead to bankrupt them and then steal THAT money for who-knows-what.

        Not what we thought we were signing up for…

  • Nick

    PUN,

    You can't really decommission a nuclear exchange facility (called such because they exchange their contents with the biosphere 24/7 despite what we are led to believe).

    Rather, what happens is some corp scores a bid to MAKE it LOOK like actual work and clean-up is occurring. Once bid is obtained, costs escalate magically and the corp makes out like a bandit.

    No, in all honesty, cleaning up after a nuclear anything is virtually an impossibility, the decaying atoms just being dispersed or stored for another generation to reckon with.

    THAT is the great con of the nuclear industry.

    My only shred of hope is that some young college age (better yet high schoolers) will lift their heads up long enough from their smart=phones to realize how dire things are. THEN they can use the same power of social-networking to actually spread the truth about nuclear to the very far corners of the globe.

  • Nuclear Power Is EXPENSIVE, Dirty, Dangerous And Toxic, Even More So AFTER Decommissioning; via @AGreenRoad
    http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2012/10/nuclear-power-expensive-dirty-dangerous.html

    Section on decommissioning is in there..

  • We Not They Finally

    Like we thought that freezing ground that they cannot even penetrate without getting fried, was going to work. Like we EVER thought that….

  • Sickputer

    Suddenly seven months after unveiling their "ice wall" plan they decide to admit it won't work. Infamous words last September from Olympic liar Abe:

    " Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government needs to intervene in order to properly address the handling of Fukushima. "Instead of leaving this up to [Tokyo Electric Power Company], the government will step forward and take charge," he said in a statement. "The world is watching if we can properly handle the contaminated water."

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/japan-spend-300m-ice-wall-isolate-fukushima-water/story?id=20144627

    SP: The world is not watching…except for Japanese and North American West Coast money investors. And Enenewsers.

    Politicians and the nuclear industry remains silent hoping the Fukushima mess will magically disappear. Children are dying from the deadly Midas touch.

    While they ponder all the carbon forms in the ocean and in Japan are feeling the grip of deadly radiation poisoning. No place to run for humans. The whales may try and flee to Southern climes. They know a disaster of epic proportions far better than Joe Sixpack. New name for Joe btw…Joe Sickpack.

  • Shaker1

    Concerning hydrology in this area, I think Heart is succinct and correct with these statements:

    "The original earthquake already did that…
    The flow of underground water has already changed.
    And they don't know how so.."

    As much as I believe that every effort must be done to control groundwater flow, mapping the existing geology of the site is in itself a daunting task. Have there been any papers published that have examined in more than a cursory manner the ground displacement from the original quake? Compromise from perfection is obvious, but they can't even control the water that they contribute in what they call 'cooling' (what I see as a cheap way to give the impression of effort), leaving useless pipe and electrical raceways open, refusing to demolish and move away everything between the shore and the main buildings themselves. Myself, I believe that this is all proceeding along the original plan in the event of disaster, that plan too horrid to discuss truly, but tacitly approved by all who had any influence. Flush it away, and leave it to dilligence of others to prove harm, meanwhile take as much as one can and run. One can't get blood from a rock anyway, so it quickly reaches the point where there is no avenue for compensation.

    PUN, and 21stCentury, I sincerely believe that mitigation is possible, if limited. Count me as a proponent. I respect your efforts, and wish I had more to contribute than one lone voice or support of petitions.

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    “More than 80 percent of the identified subsidence in the United States is a consequence of human impact on subsurface water”

    What about all the oil being pumped out?

    • jimbob jimbob

      The oil being pumped out is a small fraction of the water being pumped out.

      The Midwest aquifer was one of the largest reserves of fresh water in the World and it was already being depleted in the early 60's.

      When President Kennedy was asked by a Canadian reporter what the US would do when the aquifer went dry he replied we will get water from Canada.

      When the reporter replied what if we won't give it to you Kennedy looked at him as if the question was stupid and replied again. we will get it from Canada.

      In my opinion there will be more wars fought over fresh water in the future than have ever been fought over oil.

      People can live without oil, they cannot live without water!

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