[Column] Summary of Fukushima – How to minimize the risk



Tones of the groundwater flow to Fukushima nuclear plant. Now the plant is the unstoppable contaminated water producing machine. Here I’d like to explain the feasibility of the two planned countermeasures and suggest the most realistic measures.


1. Operation of the advanced filtration system


Tepco is planning to introduce the advanced water purification system so they are supposed to be able to discharge the water to the Pacific.

How advanced ? Now Tepco filters the water to reduce only the limited types of radiation. The new advanced system is supposed to enable them to remove more radioactive material.

However, 1. It can’t remove radioactive water -Tritium. 2. The system leaked only in the 2 months test operation. 3. The performance decreases really quick.

My personal opinion is..this is far from being reliable. This is just the hype to make Tepco and the gov look as if they had some countermeasures.


2. Groundwater bypass


Tepco also plans to pump up the groundwater before it reaches the plant and bypass it to the Pacific directly.

However, 1. The same amount of groundwater as they pump up come from the surrounding areas. 2. The pumped water won’t be filtered to discharge but it’s also contaminated.


3. What should they do ?


This is my personal view as a former civil engineer.

I personally think there is no perfect solution anymore. However, the best thing in the worst situation is to make the plant port a dam itself. (Dam the port)

The bottom of the port is already coated by chemical material. They only need to close the port exit so they can contaminate the port as much as they want.

All the contaminated water will flow into the so-called port dam. They only need to be watching it.

I’m more worried about the land subsidence by trying to reduce the groundwater volume, which may end up collapsing the plant buildings. In that case, we are going to experience the plant “transformation” + major discharge of water. It’s obviously worse than only the major discharge of water.



You can ignore the truth but the truth won’t ignore you.


Français :

[Édito] Point de situation sur Fukushima – Comment minimiser les risques
Des tonnes d’eaux souterraines s’écoulent vers la centrale nucléaire de Fukushima. La centrale est à présent une machine à produire des eaux extrêmement radioactives qu’on ne peut pas arrêter. Je voudrais expliquer ici la faisabilité des deux solution programmes et en suggérer d’un peu plus réalistes.

1. Fonctionnement du système de filtration avancé

Tepco prévoit de mettre en marche le système de filtration poussée des eaux qui leur permettrait soi-disant d’en déverser le résultat directement dans le Pacifique.
Où en sont-ils ? Actuellement, Tepco filtre l’eau pour réduire les concentration d’un nombre limité de nucléides. Le nouveau système avancé est supposé permettre d’en retirer plus.
Cependant, 1. Il ne peut retirer l’eau radioactive, le tritium. 2. Ce système s’est mis à fuir au bout de seulement 2 mois de fonctionnement de mise à l’épreuve. 3. Son rendement décroit vraiment très vite.
Mon opinion personnelle est que c’est très loin d’être fiable. C’est juste de l’esbroufe pour faire croire que Tepco et le gouvernement auraient quelques solutions.

2. La dérivation des eaux souterraines

Tepco prévoit aussi de pomper les eaux souterraines avant qu’elles atteignent la centrale et de les détourner directement dans le Pacifique.
Cependant, 1. Les eaux qu’ils pompent sont immédiatement remplacées par des quantités égales venant des zones alentour. 2. Les eaux pompées ne seront pas filtrées sauf si elles s’avèrent contaminées aussi.

3. Que devraient-ils faire ?

Voici ma façon personnelle de voir, en tant qu’ancien ingénieur en génie civil.
Je pense personnellement qu’il ne peut plus y avoir de solution parfaite. Cependant, la meilleure des choses à faire dans cette pire des situations est de faire du port de la centrale un barrage en lui-même. (Barrer le port)
Le fond du port est déjà recouvert de substances chimiques (ndt: isolantes). Ils n’ont plus qu’à en fermer les sorties pour pouvoir le contaminer autant qu’ils le veulent.
Toutes les eaux extrêmement radioactives vont s’écouler dans ce barrage portuaire pour ainsi dire. Ils n’auront plus qu’à le surveiller.

Je suis beaucoup plus inquiet sur l’effondrement de terrain que va provoquer leur tentative de réduction du volume d’eaux souterraines, chose qui peut se terminer par l’effondrement de bâtiments dans la centrale. Dans ce cas, on va connaître une “transformation” de la centrale + un déversement majeur des eaux. C’est évidemment pire que de n’avoir que le déversement majeur des eaux.

Vous pouvez ignorer la vérité mais la vérité ne vous ignorera pas.

  1. I mainly agree with this analysis. But the Port Dam is not a solution since (1) there will be water exchange under the dam walls and (2) This is going to go on forever, so all that you have done is transfer the problem.

    Better would be to surround the site with very deep walls down to bedrock and recycle the water in the closed system as coolant. But you still have the problem of the stability of the structures, especially R4.

    I think they will have to close the port and bomb the plants into the Pacific where they can then locate the pieces. But this may no longer be a complete solution if the material has melted through into the ground, which i believe has happened.

    They could freeze the ground with liquid nitrogen but this will have to be forever.

    I run out of ideas here.

  2. What happens to the large quantities of VERY ‘hot’ waste removed by the filtration system? Where and how are they storing it?

    Are Tepco dumping it in the ocean???

    Are they burning it???

    They have to be doing something with the used filters and filtrate.

  3. 1. If the molten fuel is underground it is presumably already immersed in groundwater. If so, is there any need to keep cooling the reactors?

    2. If the fuel is already immersed what would be the advantage of displacing it into the ocean?

    3. Wouldn’t bombing the SFPs pose the risk of a sudden criticality? Or are you proposing emptying the SFPs first, then bombing?

    4. One problem with the port dam idea is that it will not survive a tsunami.

    5. Regarding the water, what about the idea of piping it onto a supertanker to be processed onboard or at a distant onshore location? A tanker on the high seas would at least be immune to earthquakes and tsunamis, unlike the existing tanks.

    6. I agree the underground wall idea looks best, especially if you can desaturate the ground inside the wall. But that still leaves the problem of the SFPs.

    7. Okay this is crazy, but what about freezing the SFPs?

  4. Everything discussed would seemingly have to be done forever. And when Chris Busby says he is out of ideas, I find that very worrisome. IMHO, I think an international team of specialists should be assembled and they should all work together to try to come up with way to decommission this plant, and to deal with the ongoing envirmomental damage this is causing..This disaster is still being ignored by far too many in the rest of the world, and that needs to stop. Avaaz I believe has a petition to the UN to assemble such an international team to investigate the best ways t deal with these ongoing-forever-problems.I also think the children of Fukushima. #operation bright future seems to have caught the attention of @the RealOliverStone and some other celebrities to pull together and help coordinate some kind of program to accomplish this goal. I personally am planning to start a petition to try to drum up some support by people with the wealth that is needed There are (were as of last week) I read 44 children have been diagnosed with malignancies with thyroid cancer in the area, and doctors seem to feel that is the tip of the iceberg.

  5. How will the ice wall differ from the solid barrier that has already been constructed around parts of the plant (except that it might be high enough to reach ground level this time)? The existing solid barrier has caused as much harm as good by retaining groundwater on the site and making the soil unstable.

    How will the ice wall work on the seaward side of the plant? As the reactors are just a few metres from the sea is there even room for the ice wall?

    If you send the groundwater around the site with the ice wall, you still have 300 tonnes of water every day being sprayed over the reactors to deal with.

    There is also no guarantee that all of the groundwater rushing towards the site can be diverted, and you will also have hundreds of tons of groundwater hitting the outside of the ice wall everyday. Is the technology robust enough for this eventuality?

    Finally there will be the problem of destabilization of the ground INSIDE the ring of ice. The soil on the site is used to dealing with groundwater running through it. Take away the groundwater and you are left with soil that will dry out unevenly. This is exactly what happens to houses built on clay during a hot summer – you get subsidence.

    I am glad to see the Japanese government finally waking up to this problem and committing funds to try and contain it, but it is definitely far too little too late, and I am not sure this solution has been thought through.

    I agree though, that at the moment, some sort of containment of the water rather than continous storage is probably the least worst solution, although it will certainly increase radioactivity levels in the area through evaporation and seaspray etc.

    If the coriums have burnt through containment and are now in the subsoil, do they still need cooling? At the moment they are being cooled by the groundwater rushing past. Create a ring of ice and block off the cooling and you are back to square one.

    At some point though, for the sake of the planet, someoene needs to think the unthinkable and set about retreiving the melted fuel. That will presumably be after the clearing of the spent fuel pools and the inherent dangers of doing that task have been averted.

  6. Is there a radiation radar? So all the pieces of fuel above and underground can be located and rescue operations start taking place. Otherwise there will be radioactive discharge for quite some time.
    The doses are getting so high, maybe this is a new road to the development of civilian drones. Humans wont be able to do the jobs required on the plant anymore.

  7. I don’t have an expert or informed opinion, but as I read about this emerging dimension in Fukushima, I keep thinking of a book I recently read called Fire Underground, about the coal mine fires that have been burning in Centralia, Pennsylvania since the early 1960s. It’s a well told story about a disheartening and instructive sequence of events. The severity of the fire increased gradually as various corporate and governmental parties, mostly with the best of intentions, implemented or rejected a series of remedies that advanced in cost and complexity but never managed to catch up with the worsening condition.

    The enormity of proposals to dig a large trench to isolate the fire was a huge technical, political, and economic obstacle at the numerous times it was considered. Damming the Fukushima port or freezing the ground, or pumping sufficient quantities of groundwater, seems to me would be at least as challenging. Of course, the same thing could be said about the accumulated radioactive waste worldwide, which though it’s stable for the most part, is nonetheless a serious, no longer preventable problem with ongoing catastrophic risk and no solution on the horizon.

    If nothing else, Fire Underground serves as a vivid refutation of that thing we say when we’re out of optimistic ideas, “I’m sure they’ll think of something.” They didn’t, and they won’t. Centralia is destroyed, and the fire is still burning.

    These kinds of events really need to be part of our public decision making process. The temporary affluence brought by nuclear power was not a good bargain. How am I to explain to my daughters when they’re old enough how the grownups in our world could be so stupid?

  8. Divine Message received August 26, 2012 :


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About this site

This website updates the latest news about the Fukushima nuclear plant and also archives the past news from 2011. Because it's always updated and added live, articles, categories and the tags are not necessarily fitted in the latest format.
I am the writer of this website. About page remains in 2014. This is because my memory about 311 was clearer than now, 2023, and I think it can have a historical value. Now I'm living in Romania with 3 cats as an independent data scientist.
Actually, nothing has progressed in the plant since 2011. We still don't even know what is going on inside. They must keep cooling the crippled reactors by water, but additionally groundwater keeps flowing into the reactor buildings from the broken parts. This is why highly contaminated water is always produced more than it can circulate. Tepco is planning to officially discharge this water to the Pacific but Tritium is still remaining in it. They dilute this with seawater so that it is legally safe, but scientifically the same amount of radioactive tritium is contained. They say it is safe to discharge, but none of them have drunk it.


September 2013