NHK, July, 30, 2014 (emphasis added): TEPCO initially planned to freeze radioactive wastewater that’s been flowing into underground utility tunnels at the plant. It hoped the measure would prevent the wastewater from mixing with groundwater and flowing out to sea. But 3 months into the project, the water hasn’t frozen as planned. [...] Utility tunnels between the No. 2 and No. 3 reactors and the sea are estimated to hold a total of 11,000 tons of radiation-contaminated wastewater.
TEPCO: Progress of blocking water at connection of trenches, July 23, 2014: Sampling results of water inside seawater piping trenches (m³ = 1,000,000 cm³)
> Unit 2 Vertical Shaft C:
- Cs-134 @ 110,000-300,000 Bq/cm³
- Cs-137 @ 230,000-650,000 Bq/cm³
> Unit 3 Vertical Shaft C:
- Cs-134 @ 100,000-130,000 Bq/cm³
- Cs-137 @ 220,000-260,000 Bq/cm³
NHK transcript, July 23, 2014: The work isn’t going as planned [...] Water used to cool melted fuel [...] has been reaching the soil [...] and seeping into the sea. Workers want to freeze the water inside the tunnels before it can leak into the ground. [...] Regulators have been skeptical [and] suggested other options such as filling the tunnels with concrete.
Asahi Shimbun, July 24, 2014: NRA instructed TEPCO to pump out contaminated water in the trenches as early as possible because water inside the underground tunnels could be leaking into the surrounding soil. […] A large volume of radioactive water […] has to be removed. […] Although the operations were scheduled to be completed at the end of May [...] TEPCO said a small stream of water in the trenches has hampered the freezing operations. […] The delay in draining the radioactive water from the tunnels could slow the construction of the frozen wall [...]
NHK, July 9, 2014: At Wednesday’s meeting of the Nuclear Regulation Authority [officials] decided to urgently assess a range of problems [and] discussed a delay in work to freeze wastewater in underground utility tunnels at the plant to block further inflows of water and stop contaminated water from leaking out to sea. Members urged that the effort be speeded up. Some expressed doubt as to whether the plant’s operator has a sense of crisis.
See Tepco’s June 1, 2011 ‘Plan to prevent water leakage containing highly concentrated radioactive materials to outside environment in Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’ showing a two month ‘roadmap’ for containing the leaking tunnels (appendix 19) here.
Published: July 30th, 2014 at 7:34 pm ET
- Tunnels under Fukushima plant suspected to have quake damage — Allows radioactive water to ‘move’ into ground — Still holding over 15,000 tons — High-level contamination flowing in from turbine buildings — Tepco “couldn’t afford to work on tunnels” August 3, 2013
- Gov’t: Extremely radioactive tunnels at Fukushima must be drained — Contamination is from melted fuel — Nuclear material going through gravel and into ocean? (VIDEO) July 30, 2013
- Scientist back from Japan: I’ve seen data showing highest radioactivity levels in ocean that have been observed recently — NHK: Nuclear waste may be leaking “directly from buildings” not only going into groundwater via tunnels (VIDEOS) January 28, 2014
- Fukushima Plant Chief in 2011: If we fail to urgently deal with radioactive leakage, we can’t overcome the crisis — 2 years later Tepco admits they couldn’t afford to work on it September 11, 2013
- Japan Times: Now 400 tons a day of toxic water is estimated to be entering Pacific from Fukushima plant; 100 more tons per day than what Tepco had claimed — Asahi: Leakage of radioactive material “becoming serious” September 27, 2013