Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Weekly Review

A change in strategy to freeze tunnels at Fukushima Daiichi, a lifted evacuation order and potential price support for nuclear power made headlines in Japan this week.

Recent stories related to the Tokyo Electric Power Co. reactors severely damaged following Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami include:

Efforts to freeze tunnels at Fukushima Daiichi, pictured July 29. Source: TEPCOTunnel Freezing Rethought

Efforts to create a plug of ice in tunnels between Fukushima units 2 and 3 have so far been unsuccessful. After installing equipment to freeze sections of the tunnels and filling them with 400 metric tons of ice and dry ice in recent weeks, TEPCO told regulators on Tuesday that about 10 percent of the flow remains. The highly contaminated water must be blocked and pumped out before a larger project to encircle reactors with a frozen barrier of soil can be completed. The Asahi Shimbun reported that TEPCO has now asked regulators for permission to plug the tunnels with concrete and other materials.

Evacuation Lifted

On Sunday, the government announced an evacuation order will be lifted for 139 households in a neighborhood of Kawauchi. The Asahi reported the order could be lifted as early as next week. It will be the second evacuated neighborhood within 20 kilometers of the plant where residents are allowed to return.

Strike Price Considered

The Japanese government is debating a price-support system to aid utilities that own nuclear plants after planned reforms of Japan's power market. Kyodo news reported that it would be modelled after British policies, enacting a strike price for electricity, below which nuclear utilities would receive public support to help offset safety upgrades and decommissioning costs.

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  • Anonymous

    I'm having trouble keeping up with the many headed troubles at the plant as we read snapshots such as this one  We can read about leaking containment vessels, flooded basements, groundwater flow, treatment system failures, leaking tanks, and whatever I may have forgotten.  Is TEPCO or anybody else posting a big picture type view of the status of these various problems?

  • Anonymous: While not comprehensive, TEPCO is required to post periodic updates on the water storage situation at the plant. You can find the most recent one and a link to other plant updates below. I'm afraid I've yet to come across a frequently updated, top-level summary of all reactor inspection efforts, water storage, water containment construction and decommissioning work. If someone happens to know of a resource like this, it would be a great thing to share here.

    Thanks for reading,


    Nuclear Street News Team

    "Situation of storage and treatment of accumulated water including highly concentrated radioactive materials at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station:" www.tepco.co.jp/.../140820e0101.pdf