Japan plans underground ice wall to contain Fukushima leaks

Tokyo, Japanese authorities Monday approved the construction of an ice wall under the crippled Fukushima plant to contain the radioactive leakages to the sea.

The Japanese nuclear regulator gave the green signal to the initiative, discarding the possibility of any significant counter effect on the groundwater or the soil beneath the plant, state-run Kyodo news agency said.

"The sinking of the part of the ground is not going be considerable," Toyoshi Fuketa, an expert from the country's nuclear regulatory body told Kyodo.

However, the agency suggested that some areas still needed to be further defined, as the level of radioactive water seeped up in the buildings of the reactors.

Under the plan, the firm will circulate a special refrigerant with minus 40 temperature through pipes in the soil to create the 1.5-km frozen wall that will stem the inflow of groundwater.

The technique usually employed in infrastructural constructions like metro, for the first time will be put to use at a larger scale with longer width and duration.

The government funded initiative that was under way since late February going through various trials, Monday got the official nod from the regulatory body.

To contain and manage the enormous volumes of radioactive water, the Japanese government offered its support to the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) that runs the plant in August last year by pledging over $455.6 million to the project.

It is believed that about 300 tonnes of contaminated water daily goes to the Pacific Ocean opposite the dock of the plant.

The volume of the contaminated water is increasing as the groundwater from the hillside keeps getting in touch with the coolant stored in the basement of the reactors.

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