Ice Wall Coolant Leaks Found At Fukushima

The Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (Tepco) has confirmed that coolant is leaking from the pipes that maintain the underground ice wall at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster site.

Fukushima Ice Wall - TEPCOThe ice wall, put into operation in 2016, is designed to slow or stop groundwater from flowing through the contaminated disaster area, where three reactors went through catastrophic meltdowns after the 50-feet high earthquake-triggered tsunami waves hit the plant after the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

The coolant is not a dangerous contaminant, Tepco said. It is primarily calcium chloride, which is also used aboveground for its snow melting properties, local media reported.

Technicians noticed a sharp drop in the coolant supply, which suggested underground pipes were leaking. About 20 cubic meters of coolant has leaked from the pipes, but Tepco has said the operation of the ice wall continues without compromise. When fully functioning, the system is designed to freeze soil keeping the pipes at a temperature of minus 30 degrees Celsius.

The pipes that are leaking lie underground between the reactor buildings from the plant’s Units 2 and 3, Tepco confirmed.

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