Efforts to freeze a trench near unit 2 in order to remove highly radioactive water has continued to have problems. The ice wall system wasn’t working so TEPCO dropped ice and then dry ice into the trench via a small pipe. They then discovered that the dry ice was clogging in the small pipe they were using to drop ice down by the shovel full. This caused TEPCO to stop all work because apparently ice in August freezing in a pipe is a long term problem. The did find that the ice efforts did allow 90% of the frozen wall to work. There is still 10% that isn’t freezing due to gaps in the frozen wall system. This system is installed around pipes and other small structures in the trench, this is leading to the leak points.
TEPCO has come up with a new batch of ideas including sand bags or cement to physically plug these other holes. What was not mentioned was why they didn’t try something as simple as sand bags or cement to block off the trench from the turbine building in the first place.
The other project is an effort to pump up contaminated water from the sub drains around the reactor buildings and to then decontaminate it. Hitachi has introduced a new decontamination rig that they hope to use to do this. The sub drains are drain pits from before the disaster used to keep ground water out of the basements of the buildings. Recently, TEPCO consultant Dale Klein mentioned that 27,000 gallons of ground water flowed through Fukushima Daiichi every day before the accident. TEPCO hopes to pump up about 500 gallons a day, and is already removing at least 100 gallons a day from the groundwater bypass system. It will take 3 months of testing this new decontamination rig before they can give results to NRA to determine if the water is low enough in radiation to legally dump in the Pacific. What TEPCO didn’t mention was what they would do with 500 gallons per day of subdrain pit water they plan to pump and decontaminate for those 3 months. The plant is already very short and running out of water storage tanks.
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