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The government is now stepping in to help clean up

Japan's troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has been spilling more toxic water than previously thought, and the situation has gotten to the point where the government needs to step in. 

According to Yushi Yoneyama, an official with the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Fukushima is leaking about 300 tonnes of toxic water into the Pacific Ocean per day. It's not clear how long the contaminated water has been spilling out at this rate, but it's believed that the water has been leaking for the last two years since the earthquake and tsunami crippled the plant. 

In response to the news of 300 tonnes leaking per day, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the government to take part in the cleanup. 

"To ensure safety, I would also like the head of the Nuclear Regulation Authority to do his best to find out the cause and come up with effective measures as a regulator," said Abe. 

The plan is to freeze nearly a mile perimeter around the four reactors by drilling shafts into the ground and sending coolant through them. This will make a wall of frozen soil that will prevent the flow of groundwater into the plant.

The main problem with this is that maintaining the ground temperatures for months or even years would be very expensive. The cleanup is already expected to take more than 40 years and cost $11 billion.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) is already trying to build a bypass to stop the flow of groundwater from reaching the plant as well.

The latest admission of the amount of leaking water further damages Tepco's credibility. Not only did the company fail to properly prepare for the earthquake/tsunami, but it's response to the disaster and time it took to reveal exactly how much toxic water is leaking has also hurt the faith in Tepco. 

That's why the government is stepping in. The ministry has already requested a budget allocation to help with the toxic water problem. 

Earlier this month, Tepco spokesman Masayuki Ono confirmed at a regular monthly news conference that Tepco was aware of the leakage of radioactive water into the sea and groundwater. This was the first time the company had admitted this. Tepco had previously denied that any radioactive waste had reached the ocean, but it was eventually forced to start telling the truth in May after a coastal well sample showed abnormal levels of dangerously radioactive Caesium-137, which is a radioisotope with a half-life of 30 years.

Back in March 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake shook Japan and crippled the reactor at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. It caused quite a bit of havoc with the release of radioactive watercontamination of crops and of course, the thousands of lives lost.

Source: Reuters

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Freeze the perimeter?
By Gunbuster on 8/7/2013 12:34:04 PM , Rating: 2
"plan is to freeze nearly a mile perimeter around the four reactors by drilling shafts into the ground and sending coolant through them."

Have they been watching too much anime? Why don't they just build some prototype Gundams to clean this up.

I'm not sure how to calculate the energy you would need to perma freeze a wall of ground, but I think it would be around the output of a reactor. Better get started building neo-fukushima. Not to mention where are they going to pump all that heat?

RE: Freeze the perimeter?
By chromal on 8/7/2013 1:55:51 PM , Rating: 2
It's actually an established technique for dealing with subterranian water flows-- they used it at CERN to sink shafts for the LHC through some underground rivers. A mile-long circumference around the plant seems a bit far-fetched.

Technically, Fukushima Daiichi reactor plants 5 and 6 are intact, if they wanted to fire up some locally-generated power.

RE: Freeze the perimeter?
By FaaR on 8/7/2013 8:17:35 PM , Rating: 2
I'm thinking just pouring a heck of a lot of concrete into the basement of the plant ought to stop water leaking out. Also, possibly, dig/drill out all around and under the plant, pouring a second, outer foundation like a capstone. You'd build inspection/drainage tunnels and whatnot of course to prevent any new cracks from causing new leaks. Surely this would be less complicated and costly than freezing huge areals for 40 friggin years...

RE: Freeze the perimeter?
By marvdmartian on 8/8/2013 7:38:22 AM , Rating: 2
Well, lucky for them, they have a nuclear power plant nearby, that could be started up and supply the energy! [/sneaky]

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