Tokyo, Oct. 2 (Jiji Pres)–Six months into operation, the much-hyped underground ice wall has not yet produced the intended effects of curbing the growth of radioactive water at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
TEPCO initially claimed that the ice wall would prove effective in about a month and half, but the amount of contaminated water at the plant has continued to increase at a pace faster than projected by the utility.
The plant in northeastern Japan faces a chronic shortage of welded-type water storage tanks, while an increasing volume of tainted water has been transferred to the reactor and turbine buildings as a makeshift measure despite a high risk of leaks.
TEPCO constructed the 1.5-kilometer-long ice wall encircling the plant’s damaged No. 1 to No. 4 reactors in an attempt to block groundwater from flowing into reactor buildings and mixing with radioactive water accumulating inside.
The government has to date spent a total of 34.5 billion yen in the construction of the structure by freezing underground soil, which is believed to be technically very difficult.