Japanese authorities have activated a large subterranean “ice wall” in a desperate attempt to stop radiation that’s been leaking from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant for five years.
“Last week, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the company that owns the plant, received permission from the Japanese government to activate a process that will generate a massive subterranean ice wall around the plant,” Stated Mnn. The unprecedented scale of the $300 million project is something of a last-ditch effort to stop the release of contaminated wastewater into the sea.
“Construction of the $312 million government-funded structure was completed last month, more than a year behind schedule, the Associated Press reports,” wrote Huffington Post. The nearly mile-long barrier is intended to block groundwater from entering the facility and becoming contaminated.
By freezing the soil itself all the way down to the bedrock that exists below the plant. When groundwater flowing downhill reaches this frozen barrier it will flow around the reactor buildings, reaching the sea just as it always has, but without contacting the contaminated water within the reactor buildings. The wall consists of a series of underground refrigeration pipes meant to form a frozen soil barrier around the four reactors that were crippled during the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.