An expensive ice wall installed to block the outflow of contaminated water from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant could partially melt, the country’s state broadcaster NHK has warned.
NHK said on Friday that the operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric (TEPCO), plans to strengthen the wall in early December, as well as other measures to contain the toxic water.
TEPCO did not immediately confirm details of the report when contacted by Reuters.
The ice wall around nuclear reactors is intended to prevent groundwater from entering or exiting the power plant, which was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
Despite being called the ‘Wall of Ice’, it is actually a frozen earthen barrier that cost 34.5 billion yen ($324 million) of public funds to build.
About 1,500 tubes filled with salty water were sunk to a depth of 30 meters in a 1.5 km radius around the four Fukushima reactors. The brine is cooled to a temperature of minus 30 ° C.
The wall became fully operational in August 2018, but groundwater leakage still continued at the site, despite TEPCO’s earlier assurances that it would reduce the flow. “Almost nothing.”
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