Via The Japan Times: Solving Fukushima water problem a long, hard slog. Excerpt:
Three years after it was devastated by monster tsunami, the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant continues to be plagued by numerous problems as it lurches through the decades-long process toward decommissioning.
The most troubling problem is dealing with the buildup of radioactive water, which is increasing at a rate of 400 tons in the reactor buildings every day, and another 400 tons of lightly contaminated water that seeps daily into the Pacific.
Experts say Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the government will be wrestling with these problems, and the task of removing the highly toxic contaminants from the water, for years and maybe decades, but at least it has become clearer what measures will need to be implemented thanks to simulations of the groundwater flow.
Meanwhile, the hurdles remain high, including winning the OK of local residents and people in the fishing industry to dump “uncontaminated” groundwater into the sea, and successfully creating an underground frozen wall the likes of which the world has never seen.
Around the plant, about 1,000 tons of groundwater flow daily into several permeable layers, 400 tons of which seep into the reactor buildings.
To cool the melted fuel, Tepco has been injecting water into the three damaged reactors. Water that has touched the fuel and has become highly radioactive is leaking from the reactors into the building basements, where it mixes with the groundwater seeping in.
Another 400 tons of groundwater reaches the ocean after moving through a contaminated area near the sea.
Stopping this cycle is crucial, but fully solving the water issue is years away at best and Tepco and the government are planning various measures.