Tokyo Electric Power : Plant operator detects increase in temperature in ice wall in Fukushima
Tokyo, Sept 2 (EFE).- Tepco Electric Power, or TEPCO, the owner of the Fukushima nuclear plant has detected an increase in the temperature of some parts of the underground ice wall that could affect its further construction and the dismantling of the plant.
The temperature rise was caused by intense rainfall in the region where the plant is located due to the typhoons that have been affecting the area since mid-August, a spokesperson of the company told EFE Friday.
The temperature of the wall to the south of reactor No.4 has gone up from minus 5 degrees to 1.8 degrees, according to the measurements carried out by TEPCO on Thursday.
An increase in temperature from minus 1.5 degrees to 1.4 degrees has also been detected east of reactor No.3.
The company is injecting a chemical in both the walls to solidify them, reduce the flow of water and accelerate the freezing process and is discussing other options in case these measures prove ineffective, the spokesperson explained.
Temperatures in these sections are already higher than those in other parts of the ice wall before the storms. However, there are fears some sections of the wall could have thawed with the increase in underground water flow due to the rains.
The company said that this incident could affect the deadlines for the completion of the wall but the construction, which entered the second and second last phase in early June, will continue.
The purpose of the wall is to isolate the ground around the four reactors – affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami – to prevent water from natural aquifers flowing into them and coming into contact with the radioactive refrigerant and the contaminated water then finding its way into the Pacific Ocean.
This setback increases pressure on the company, that had barely made progress in bringing down the water still within the reactor basements and had said in July that the ice wall will not be 100 percent effective in blocking the groundwater, thus complicating efforts to dismantle the plant.