Japan to build “ice wall” to stop leakage into the Pacific
On Tuesday Japan announced it would spend 320 million dollars to build an ice wall to prevent contaminated water from flowing into the surrounding area, including the Pacific Ocean. The wall would run a full 2 miles around the plant. A system of small electrical pipes carrying coolant would freeze the ground to up to 30 meters (100 ft). Ice walls have been used in the past for similiar purposes. The US government used one at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to isolate radioactive waste.
However, the wall would not be in place until March of 2015. Without additional measures, contaminated water would continue to flow into the Pacific during that time. It boggles the mind why this projected wasn’t started at once. The lack of a sense of urgency is appalling. If it had been begun right after the accident, it would already be in place and the planet would have been saved 2 more years of radioactive waste flowing into the Pacific.
The Japanese government will spend an additional 150 million dollars on upgraded water treatment equipment which will remove all radioactive elements from the water, except tritium. Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka has said the contaminated water cannot be stored at the site indefinitely and said it may have to be released into the ocean after it has been treated and diluted.
In other words, Japan is considering dumping millions of gallons of water containing radioactive tritium (half life 12 years) into the Pacific Ocean. This is totally unacceptable. The Pacific Ocean does not belong to Japan. It is not hers to pollute as she sees fit. Yes the Pacific is huge, but still the tritium will be taken up by sea life and enter the food chain. With a half life of 12 years, that tritium will be around for 120 years.The world understands that storing that huge amount of water is a very difficult problem, but dumping it into the ocean is no solution.