The Japanese government began funding this project after it was discovered TEPCO had realized the need, yet hid the problem and skipped the project due to the massive cost involved. Now the Japanese government is funding the project and administering it through METI.
All tests of the technology at the plant have proven it to be successful. Then NRA raised the concern about how the wall might change water levels inside the reactor building area. This has been an ongoing concern related to all the groundwater control plans. Any change to the groundwater flow could create groundwater saturating an area or subsidence of the soil as areas dry out.
Now TEPCO is using that concern to try to get out of their responsibility for installing (and paying for) the frozen wall. NRA has not declared the project unfeasible yet. They are most likely going to require additional documentation or research to estimate the total impact the wall could have on groundwater levels within the reactor building area.
TEPCO was quick to use this opportunity to try to scrap the entire project. While the Japanese government is funding the work, it is likely that TEPCO is expected to eventually pay back that money. So TEPCO trots out their favorite consultant public relations personalities. Dale Klein and Barbara Judge gave a press conference where they tried to sell TEPCO’s new idea. Scrap the frozen wall and let us dump everything in the sea via. the contaminated groundwater bypass wells.
The bypass wells are known to be contaminated with tritium and cesium yet they are TEPCO’s favored solution as they have already been paid for and do not cost TEPCO any additional money. The problem appears to not necessarily be anything wrong with the project, more TEPCO’s ongoing refusal to be held responsible for the financial cost of their disaster.
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