Japan TV: Failure at Fukushima — Cement not stopping highly contaminated nuclear waste from flowing out of reactor buildings — IAEA: Radioactive releases from plant into ocean “a challenging issue” — Officials: Don’t know what to do next, or how this will affect whole ‘decommissioning’ project (VIDEO)
Published: February 11th, 2015 at 1:14 am ET
NHK World transcript excerpts, Feb. 9, 2015: Managers of Japan’s damaged nuclear plant are facing another delay in dealing with a major source of contamination. They’re working on blocking the flow of radioactive water from reactor buildings to underground tunnels. TEPCO officials met with members of the Nuclear Regulation Authority [which] approved a plan to delay the project… Workers were supposed to remove the highly radioactive water… and after that they would have filled in the tunnels with cement. However, efforts to block the flow of water failed. Engineers need to fill in some gaps that may be left in the area where the tunnels and reactor buildings meet. The setback will likely affect a second project to build an ice wall around the 4 damaged reactor buildings. Tepco officials say they’re already 2 weeks to a month behind schedule on that work.
NHK, Feb. 9, 2015: The workers poured cement into the tunnels while draining contaminated water. But blocking the water was not successful as it continued to flow through the buildings… They say they do not yet know how the latest delay will affect the whole decommissioning project. They are still studying the next steps they need to take.
Kyodo News, Feb 2, 2015: … the project to build a huge underground ice wall — a key measure to prevent radioactive water from further building up at the site — and other operations will likely be delayed by up to a month, it added… TEPCO initially planned to finish constructing the 1.5-kilometer frozen wall around the buildings housing the Nos. 1 to 4 reactors…by the end of next month.
Al Jazeera, Feb 9, 2015: The UN’s nuclear watchdog* says contaminated water leaking from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant is still “a challenging issue”. The IAEA is reviewing work to decommission the plant… Tepco is criticized with its handling of radioactive water leaks into the Pacific Ocean.
* IAEA the “UN’s nuclear watchdog”? CNN, ABC, Harvard researchers, and even the UN itself, say yes. Perhaps they should consult with the head of the IAEA on the matter: “I have tried to address some widespread misconceptions in the media about the IAEA’s role in nuclear safety… we are not a ‘nuclear safety watchdog’.” A Bloomberg report on the IAEA notes, “The agency’s safety division garnered little respect in US diplomatic cables that described the department as a marketing channel for countries seeking to sell atomic technology… The IAEA’s own mission [is] to promote atomic power.”