Nuclear Experts Raise Concerns over Giant ‘Ice Wall’ at Fukushima

ENERGY, 5 May 2014

Andrea Germanos – Common Dreams

It’s a risky experiment that could bring about unintended consequences, they warn.

Nuclear experts are casting doubt on Japan’s plans to build a giant underground “ice wall” surrounding the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in a bid to stop dangerous radiation leaks.

The roughly $320 million ice wall would theoretically function like an underground dam to stop groundwater from seeping into the facility where it becomes contaminated with radioactivity.

One of those questioning the ice wall is Dale Klein, former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman and current head of the Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee hired by plant operator TEPCO.

“I’m not convinced that the freeze wall is the best option,” he told Kyodo News. “What I’m concerned about is unintended consequences.”

“Where does that water go and what are the consequences of that? I think they need more testing and more analysis,” Klein said.

Toyoshi Fuketa, a commissioner with Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority voiced concerns as well, saying at a Friday meeting in Tokyo, “We need to know if a frozen wall is really effective, and more importantly, we need to know whether a frozen wall may cause any trouble.”

Shortly after Japan announced the ice wall plans last year, Arjun Makhijani, a nuclear fusion expert and president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, warned that nothing like this on this scale had been tried before, and called it

a risky experiment, because if the power fails, you know, just like if your — when the power goes out with your refrigerator, everything will de-freeze in — defrost in the freezer.

So, if this ice melts suddenly and it’s blocking an enormous amount of contaminated water behind it, then you have got a problem. At the same time, you know, the tanks are themselves something of a threat, if there’s another earthquake and this highly contaminated water gets into the ocean. And so they have a got a very — couple of very, very serious problems of containing the water.

Despite the ongoing crisis, plant operator TEPCO recently reported $4.3 billion in annual net profits thanks in part to a massive public bailout.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

 Go to Original –

Share this article:

DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Comments are closed.