TEPCO to cement 73,000 sq meters of seabed off Fukushima

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  • 2

    Disillusioned

    Oh boy! That is a disaster! However, I have to ask, why has it taken a year to come up with this plan, when are they gonna start and how long will it take them to complete it?

  • 1

    edojin

    This not only raises many questions ... but it also boggles the mind.

    For example, the phrase "in a bid to halt the spread of radiation" means what? The radiation is still spreading ... right now? Doesn't sound good.

    Then the story says, 10 centimeters (are) expected to be eaten away by seawater every 50 years." Then what? And what does that 50 years mean ... the radiation will still be continuing then? Or the radiated cement will be eaten away and desposited somewhere else?

    Definitely another TEPCO brainstorm ...

  • 2

    Gurukun

    and this is going to work? Who gets paid, and how much, to come up with ideas like this?? Nothing wrong with thinking outside the box, but damn....we're talking waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy outside the box on this one.

  • 0

    Elvensilvan

    o.O

    Did zichi have a premonition of this article, or did he time-travel to post several hours ago?

    Personally, I don't know how to react to this project ... I guess it's okay to bury 73,000 square meters of seabed to contain the radioactive thingies down there, but at the same time, what of the destruction of the natural habitat?

  • 9

    SquidBert

    I can imagine the brain storming session at TEPCO that lead to this.

    Employee 1: Eh, sir, we have polluted a rather large area of the seabed.

    Manager:  Your point?
    

    Employee 1: Eh, it is part of the environment, which some people seem to care about.

    Manager: So, are we allowed to kill those people?
    

    Employee 2: I don't think so, but I have this Idea I've been working on.

    Manager: Ok, lets hear.
    

    Employee 2: Well if we turn the seafloor to an underwater parking lot, it is no longer considered environment right?

    Manager: I like the way you think, you are going to go far in this company.

    Employee 2: Thank you sir!

    Manager: A pity we can't kill em though.

  • 3

    Laguna

    The futility of the measure is at least mitigated by its tiny scale - 10 football pitches is small in relation to the vastness of the sea. Better though - or in addition - would be to declare a large swath of coast a protected area for the next half century. This would both allow time for radiation to decay and provide a sanctuary for the very overfished seacoast. California has already restricted fisheries along long stretches of its coast only for conservation reasons; Japan must stop bending to the counter-productive, environmentally destructive demands of its fisheries industry and do the same.

  • 13

    SquidBert

    On a more serious note, I guess my point is.

    TEPCO should not be the ones deciding on the methods of environmental remediation. That should be decided for by independent scientists, and then paid for by TEPCO if they have any money left.

  • 4

    Nicky Washida

    What spread of radiation? There is no spread of radiation and everything is under control, right? OMG - are you saying...this...was not true???!

  • 2

    Johannes Weber

    The sixty centimeters with an estimated loss rate of 10cm in 50 years covers basically 10 Cs137 half-lives. Which make sense in principle only.

    1st: If you do it, do it safely. How much more would 1 m cost? And if 1m or more, why not do it according to my suggestion below?

    2nd: When the next big earthquake comes - remember that they expect "rebound earthquakes" - how will the cement layer behave - besides getting thousand or millions af significant cracks. Will it - due to the lesser elasticity than average seafloor increase the volume and height of tsunamis? I'm not sure about that one, but the idea somehow stuck to my mind.

    My suggestion:

    They could even think of drying up the entire place in the long run by recovering land from the seaside. This would mean that the contaminants from the seabed will be under a few tens of meters of soil. Which should mean that they are turned less harmful than the footmat at the door of the plant. Put the delimiters of the newly recovered land with mostly waterproof and highly ion-absorbent materials (zeolites and the like) and the contamination probably won't even enter groundwater.

    Finally, the ecosystem:

    73000m^2 is not really big. It is a few soccer fields, not much more. The impact on the nearby eco system should be relatively small. By the way - which ecosystem? Since it is the direct neighbourhood of a nuclear plant, it has been contaminated to some extent over a long period of time. No new loss as fas as I'm concerned. You can assume that the ecosystem there is already gone (due to the tsunami, all the rubbish flowing back into the sea and the immediate extreme contamination).

  • 2

    ironchef

    ...as sample tests have shown a relatively high concentration of radioactive substances in the sea soil in the bay,” a company spokeswoman said.

    duh.

  • 7

    zichi

    I had already made a comment on another post.

    The sea bed next to the Fukushima NPP, is contaminated with very high levels of cesium from both the leak of contaminated water and from the explosions in the reactors .

    TEPCO's answer is to cover 70,000 sq meters of the sea bed with concrete, 60 cms thick. The work will begin at the end of this month, and should be complete within four months.

    Is this a first? Covering sea beds with concrete?

    I don't think this will really work and could create more problems than solving them. The sea floor is very active and will remain so for coming decades.

  • 3

    gogogo

    I hate how this reads like everything is okay and this is normal. Tepco have lied about the radiation poured into the sea and now come out with this PR!?

  • 5

    xyberc

    They found usage for the radioactive crushed stones after all.

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/radioactive-crushed-stone-may-have-been-used-in-over-80-buildings-meti-says

  • 8

    Maitake

    Idiots

  • 1

    tmarie

    Wait, what? I thought it was all just going to mix in with the reg water and there would be no problems. I mean, that is what TEPCO and the government kept telling us.

    So... they going to ban fishing in the area? Doubt it!

  • 2

    nandakandamanda

    Forgive the ignorance. They have concrete/cement that can be poured and sets even under water, right?

    I guess anything is better than nothing. In 50 years' time they will be needing to re-concrete. I hope they keep reminder notes.

  • 4

    HowardStern

    Does TEPCO even own this land?

  • 4

    Kamala Brown-Sparks

    Wow...and how is this cement going to be made so that it's earthquake and tsunami proof??? What I don't understand, is how all of the other countries in the world are also able to act like this leaking radiation is no big deal....smh

  • 3

    smithinjapan

    By why is this necessary since TEPCO achieved 'cold shutdown' and 'everything is stable'? Why the need to halt the spread of radiation if there are no further leaks? Why is TEPCO allowed to make such decisions on the environment when the environment and the people therein are the absolute least of their concerns? How is this in any way going to prevent further spread?

  • 1

    SquidBert

    The sad thing is, that if they find out that radioactive substances are leaching out from under the concrete after they are done, then there will be nothing they can do about it.

    A solution along the lines of what Johannes Weber suggested sounds much more reasonable, but probably will cost much more as well.

  • 1

    JapanGal

    Hey...Japan is the Land of Cement and not the rising sun (except in the summer at 3:30 am), so who knows better about cement than Japan??? The whole country is cement anyway, so why not cement the oceans too?

    I think this is wonderful.

  • 2

    Reckless

    I agree with this great idea. Covering with cement solves any problem.

  • 2

    PeaceWarrior

    I guess we'll have to say that we're going to the concretum, instead of going to the beach! It is a particularly interesting Japanese example of concretization.

  • -1

    gonemad

    Why are some of you so negative about everything which TEPCO does? Obviously there is a depression where a lot of the radioactice substances which leaked after the accident have accumulated. They cover it in order to prevent it being swept further into the ocean during storms. The material they use is not simple cement, which will crack easily. Even if cracks occur after a large earthquake, they can be repaired easily. Small cracks will quickly be filled by sediments. Why spend the money on useless overengineering?

  • 3

    ExportExpert

    Could this just be another cover up by Tepco ? ;-)

  • 10

    Samantha Zoe Aso

    Well, TEPCO are pros when it comes to covering up things so maybe we should let them get on with it!

  • 1

    Kabukilover

    Yes, it is the worst possible cover up. Cement deteriorates. The stuff under it will come back to do its damage.

  • 2

    Nessie

    @kabuki

    Yes, it is the worst possible cover up. Cement deteriorates. The stuff under it will come back to do its damage.

    Worse than marshmallow or crepe paper? Hyperbole much?

  • 3

    Nessie

    Who thinks the "cement" won't include radioactive waste from the area? Anyone?

  • 2

    Disillusioned

    I know this seems like a stupid idea, but they have no other choice. It is not possible to dredge up that much of the ocean bed. It would just stir up the radiation and spread it further. And, even if they could dredge it up they have no where to store it. The only thing they can do is to cap it with cement, sadly. They should do the same with the 20k exclusion zone and turn it into the world's largest skateboard park.

  • 3

    zichi

    Samantha Zoe Aso,

    your comment cracked me up!

    This could take tens of workers depending on the level of radiation in the area. When TEPCO put the probe into reactor No2, it took 60 workers but then the radiation level is high there.

    TEPCO are "using up workers" at quite a fast rate.

  • 1

    Crazedinjapan

    It's like putting a bandaid on a gash that requires 52 stiches ! First ! One they pumped water in and out with radiation ! Two radiation would travel with the water in currents off the plant ! Three if they used sludge (which they didn't ) even the unless they coated the same square meters in lead ! Cement will do what ?? Nothing ! Last I heard ratiation goes through pretty much everything accept a heavier element !

  • 0

    Disillusioned

    Crazedinjapan, capping will not stop the radiation, but it will stop the active particles from being distributed up and down the coast of Japan and throughout the Pacific.

  • 2

    Johannes Weber

    It is not about the radiation. It is about fixing the radioisotopes to their postion. Otherwise, they would gradually get into the undersea currents of the Pacific and be distributed on a far wider scale. Nailing it down to one place is the only option that TEPCO actually has. And if you pour a few meters of matter over it, any radiation will be greatly reduced.

  • 4

    Ranger_Miffy2

    I don't think radioactivity is LEAKING. I think it is GUSHING.

  • 1

    avigator

    Ay cemento que bien me siento. Oh cement, how good I feel. Sounds like a way to get some companies fat.

  • 0

    herefornow

    The Japanese response to lots of things -- bury your head in the sand as long as you can and then pour cement over everything. Absurd.

  • -1

    Utrack

    This will not be the first and last time that TEPCO may have to cover the seabed near the battered reactors, TEPCO is still pouring water into these reactors and will continue to do so for a long time I think. So when the concrete is poured and cured TEPCO will still be giving off radiation. Maybe next year they will pour cement over the cement they are putting down now to fix in place the radioisotopes to their postion.

  • 2

    tmarie

    Why are some of you so negative about everything which TEPCO does?

    Because everything they've been doing has been either a) useless b) not enough c) lies and cover ups?

  • 0

    WilliB

    Well, if nothing else, it should make the "bury it " crowd happy.

  • 1

    Rick Kisa

    only 2 reactors had a meltdown and in addition to the huffing and puffing to reduce the radiation, we are incurring colossal sums of money to cement the flow of the ocean!!! How about if all the 54 or 70 reactors melted? Shall we still have a country called Japan on the map? AND YOU STILL HEAR PEOPLE ADVOCATING FOR NUCLEAR ENERGY FOR LIFE!!!!!!!

  • 2

    Maurice Wright

    I have to agree with Johannes Weber. I think it is better to recover the land and put in a parking lot or headquarters for TEPCO there. If anything else, it will provide some (and I mean some) relief from the next tsunami. Maybe just enough to allow the proper countermeasures to work this time. The soil would be properly contained while allowing it to decay naturally without further release... and TEPCO gets some new land to play with.

    Another question I have is with this parking lot under the water as some have put it; who is paying for this, and who is going to monitor it to ensure it does what it is intended to do. Also, what countermeasures are being put in place should the concrete crack enough for release of the material?

  • 0

    midnull

    ...how is this going to halt radiation? Concrete doesn't halt radiation...lead and copper does....to some extent. And the radiation ALREADY spread, so "blocking" it off now won't do a god damn thing. Who are these retards and how the hell did they get their degrees? Hum?

    Oh wait...if there's an alternative motive for this...then yes...sure...why not...

  • 2

    zichi

    The area is inside of the seawalls or breakwaters. The area is the port area of the compound. It will involve the use of solidified soil from bentonite and cement.

    TEPCO link

    http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/images/handouts_120221_02-e.pdf

    According to TEPCO, soil and sand sampled from the seabed around the water intakes for the No. 1 to No. 4 reactors have been found to contain up to 1.6 million becquerels of radioactive cesium-137 and cesium-134 per kilogram. High levels of radioactive materials have also been found in samples collected near the intakes for the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors.

    Another link with video.

    http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/fukushima-i-nuke-plant-video-of-ocean.html

    Having read the document from TEPCO, I would say this is a correct action to take.

    The land infil is also a good suggest but would also need some modification of sea water intakes. The work would take longer and maybe in the end TEPCO will also do something like that too. The height of the breakwalls still need to be increased in height because another tsunami will remain a constant danger, especially with TEPCO stating it will be more than 10 years before they try to recover and remove the melted fuels.

  • 0

    Utrack

    MEXT is now offering Radiation levels in Fukushima, now available in real time.

    http://radiomap.mext.go.jp/ja/

  • -1

    Utrack

    From the MEXT map it looks like right at the shore is 420 microSv/h.

  • 2

    zichi

    Utrack,

    there are areas inside the compound above 5,000μSv/hr.

  • -1

    Utrack

    Utrack,- there are areas inside the compound above 5,000μSv/hr.

    That is obvious with areas so hot no worker can go near it, but TEPCO can not entomb/bury the reactors.

  • 5

    zichi

    If TEPCO can't emote the melted fuel, eventually the reactors will have to be entombed in concrete, like at Chernobyl.

  • 2

    Ranger_Miffy2

    Why not just dump EVERYTHING off shore to Daiichi? All the debris, all the tsunami damage. Eventually, there will be enough landfill that they can build Daiichi Disney in about 50 years?

  • 1

    WilliB

    zichi:

    " If TEPCO can't emote the melted fuel, eventually the reactors will have to be entombed in concrete, like at Chernobyl. "

    The "tombs" at Chernobyl were an emergency solution and turned out to be a disaster.

    Anybody who touts Chernobyl as a "solution" has not done his homework.

  • 1

    WilliB

    midnuff:

    " how is this going to halt radiation? Concrete doesn't halt radiation...lead and copper does "

    Obviously, this is not supposed to "halt radiation", it is supposed to halt the drift of radioactive heavy particles from the seabed. And concrete does that very well.

  • 0

    nandakandamanda

    To halt the spread is one thing, and to hold it in one place or slow it down long enough for a half life or two of cesium to run out seems like a viable, sensible option.

    No point being afraid or panicking. Stay calm, put your heads together, brainstorm, come up with an idea that could realistically deal with each newly-developing scenario. Can't let this radiation beat us completely. Try to stay one step ahead and build up a record of treatments for future nuclear emergencies. Necessity is the mother of invention...

  • 2

    Teachmeteachyou

    Sounds like a good idea. Concrete has been used to shield nuclear power plants for generations and it's a pretty firm and convenient to apply material. I hadn't actually realised that so much of it had settled into the nearby seabed, but seeing as the substances are relatively heavy, it makes sense and this will stop much of them from being washed away by erosion.

    I understand the profound loss of faith in TEPCO a lot of people have, but we shouldn't think their actions to improve the situation are pointless and I'd certainly rather they did this than did nothing. I'm pretty sure there are some very intelligent, responsible-minded people involved in this, who realise just how serious the situation is and are doing whatever they can to contain it.

  • 0

    gonemad

    Because everything they've been doing has been either a) useless b) not enough c) lies and cover ups?

    I certainly won't burn my fingers arguing with you about (c), but reading your comments I can see you are, how should I say, well qualified, to judge (a) and (b). Obviously reading the name TEPCO alone is enough to provoke Pavlovian responses and have people start to write all kind of uninformed nonsense just to continue bashing them. Si tacuisses...

    Now give me more thumbs-down because I dare to say that TEPCO is doing the right thing here.

  • 3

    Teachmeteachyou

    Reading through the comments here, I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding about what this operation is hoping to achieve. It's not trying to keep radiation in as such the way lead could, but to trap particles in the sea-bed where they settled, so they don't drift out any more than they already have.

    I certainly wouldn't want to defend the company and it's attempts to avoid compensation and liabilities one bit, but as I see it, attempts to fix things up are another matter and I think it's overly pessimistic to see them as hopeless. In fact, I see a lot of the people involved in containing the radiation as modern-day heroes (even if they are mostly unsung heroes).

  • 0

    Euphoria

    Have tried many things why not this as well..let's give it a shot and examine the results...

  • -2

    delrennich

    As with so many other problems in Japan, such as unemployed manual laborers, wasting taxpayer money, now the problem of radiation is being solved by pouring cement. How sad.

  • 4

    Nessie

    Why are some of you so negative about everything which TEPCO does?

    One criminally negligent large-scale nuclear disaster and coverup, and suddenly everone's against you? Life's just not fair.

  • 4

    zichi

    TEPCO is making progress, but it's like three steps forward and then one or two back. Each of the three major nuclear disasters, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima are all unique in nature. There are no answers and mostly no available technology for dealing with the disaster. It's very much a trial and error situation. Trying to find out what works. Some of the technology, like extracting the melted fuel, needs to be invented. TEPCO have stated it could take 20 years just to come up with the method.

  • 1

    Ranger_Miffy2

    At this point, it is completely clear that TEPCO had absolutely NO BACK UP PLAN. Great way to run the show. Just wishful thinking. And that is why we are so leery of TEPCO. Going to keep engineers and temp workers employed for decades figuring it out. Yikes.

  • 1

    TheBigPicture

    Total nightmare, these nuclear disasters are. Man-made, too.

  • 1

    ExportExpert

    And Tepco is a man-made disaster.

  • 0

    bajhista65

    WTF.... it just shows how incompetent TEPCO's group in handling this crisis. They could have anticipated leaks and whatever effect in their injection of sea water to cool the rods. What a bunch of amoeba handling the spread of radiation.

  • 0

    oberst

    I am surprise TEPCO doesn't propose the idea of dredging the seabed and spread the " wealth " around to other coastal area, dilute the radiation to " acceptable " level so to speak .

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