NHK, June 16, 2014: Workers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant say their effort to freeze radioactive water in underground tunnels hasn’t gone as planned. In April, they began pouring chemical solutions into tunnels at the No.2 reactor. They hoped to freeze the water to stop it flowing out to the sea. But tests show the water remains above freezing temperature. [Tepco] believes objects in the tunnels are preventing the coolant from spreading evenly. They also said running wastewater is slowing the process.
AFP, June 17, 2014: Fukushima operator struggles to build ice wall [...] Tepco says it is behind schedule with scheme because temperature of pipes sunk into ground is not low enough [...] it is having trouble [...] Tepco said on Tuesday that a smaller, inner ice wall whose pipes it sank earlier to contain the already-contaminated water was proving difficult. “We have yet to form the ice stopper because we can’t make the temperature low enough to freeze water,” a Tepco spokesman said.
Reuters, June 17, 2014: [Tepco] said on Tuesday the company’s efforts to freeze radioactive water in the facility had hit a glitch and may take longer than expected. [Tepco] planned to freeze some of the 11,000 tonnes of toxic water pooled in trenches below two of the reactor buildings at the plant and began construction of the project in April, but said the water has not frozen over yet. [...] [A Tepco] spokesman said fluctuating water levels in the tunnel under the No. 2 reactor building were preventing the water from freezing over.
Chris Harris, former licensed Senior Reactor Operator and engineer, June 12, 2014 (at 25:45 in): I talked to a colleague of mine who is an expert in the area of cleanup, he was on the TMI cleanup project and a renowned expert. I said “What do you think of this ice wall?” He curled his lip and said, “Nah, that’s not going to get it. … They’re wasting their time with the ice wall.” Plus the added negatives of shifting, basically liquefying material, liquefying the ground around it. It can cause sinkholes… it could also create more problems with an ice dam. >> Full interview here
See also: Anonymous Official: Ground to sink beneath Fukushima reactors from ice wall — Gov’t: Biggest fear is ground sinkage & buildings being destabilized — Tepco: It will sink up to 16mm, but should be OK
Published: June 17th, 2014 at 9:14 am ET