A key expert urged Japan to mull potential hazards of building an ice sheet to contain radiation at the damaged Fukushima plant, Bloomberg reports.
Unverified beliefs about how water moves around the Fukushima Daiichi complex may compromise a planned frozen soil layer intended to limit the escape of contaminated fluid through earth at the site, Dale Klein, a consultant to plant operator Tokyo Electric Power, said on Thursday. Roughly 400 tons of radiation-tainted water has accumulated each day from efforts to cool the disabled power plant, which experienced meltdowns in three of its six reactors after an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
"Are there any unintended consequences? ... We’re concerned about safety and environmental protection," Klein, who heads the plant operator's Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee, said in a briefing to reporters.
Tokyo Electric Power spokeswoman Mayumi Yoshida said crews have not yet begun fielding the ice sheet, and preliminary checks of the plan are still under way by the utility company and the contract firm Kajima. The containment measure is slated to be ready before next April, she added.
Klein said that if Tokyo Electric Power "finds technical information [during testing] that indicates the frozen wall is not the best, they need to communicate that to the government."
"I know the government has said that they will put in the frozen wall, but I hope that science will trump political policy," he said. Tokyo last year said it would provide $313 million for the ice sheet, according to Bloomberg.
Yoshida said Tokyo Electric Power would "take Dr. Klein’s words sincerely and work steadily with the government on the ice wall project."