Published on 16 Mar 2015TEPCO delays making ice walls
Nuclear & Energy Mar. 16, 2015 – Updated 18:48 UTC-4
Tokyo Electric Power Company has postponed a project designed to keep groundwater out of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where it is trying to reduce the buildup of contaminated water at the site.
The company was planning to freeze soil around the crippled reactor buildings in order to create an underground wall of ice a kilometer and a half long.
The work was slated to start this month, but was postponed by one month following the accidental deaths of workers in January.
Work has scheduled to begin to freeze soil in one section, between the plant and a hill.
But TEPCO says it has not yet asked the nuclear regulator for permission to freeze another section between the plant and the sea, and it is unclear when the full frozen wall will be completed.
The buildup of radioactive water is another problem the utility is facing. TEPCO said it would process 600,000 tons of tainted water by the end of May. Now it says that 20,000 tons, including much amount of seawater, will not be finished by that time.

Nuclear reactors to be decommissioned
Nuclear & Energy Mar. 16, 2015 – Updated 18:48 UTC-4
Two nuclear power plant operators in Japan are planning to scrap 3 reactors that are older than the government’s recommended age limit. The reactors are located in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan.
Following the accident at Fukushima Daiichi in 2011, the government set a lifespan of 40 years, in principle, for reactors. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has urged operators to consider decommissioning reactors that have already surpassed that age.
Kansai Electric Power Company has apparently decided to scrap the No.1 and No.2 reactors at its Mihama nuclear power plant. Japan Atomic Power Company is planning to shut down the No.1 reactor at its Tsuruga plant.
The operators will finalize their decisions at board meetings on Tuesday. They will convey the outcomes to local leaders, including the prefectural governor.
The cost of meeting new safety requirements in order to keep operating the reactors is likely a factor. The reactors have relatively small output that would not justify the expense.
If the decisions to scrap the reactors are confirmed, the reactors will be the first aside from Fukushima Daiichi to be dismantled since the 2011 nuclear disaster.

TEPCO: Annual radiation dose can be cut
Nuclear & Energy Mar. 16, 2015 – Updated 01:31 UTC-4
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it will be able to reduce the annual radiation exposure at the plant compound to below the limit set by Japan’s nuclear regulators.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will be able to cut the figure to less than one millisievert by the end of this month. This will be in line with an order issued by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.
The company says a close study of a future plan to deal with tainted water shows that it will be able to reduce radioactive materials in about 80 percent of the water within this month.
About 600,000 tons of highly radioactive water from reactor buildings has been stored in tanks within the plant compound.
Experts say workers would be exposed to about 3.5 millisieverts of radiation from the tainted water in the tanks if they stayed on the compound for a year.
TEPCO has also set a new goal of treating most of the tainted water at least once by end of May. The company had initially set an end-of-March deadline for treating the water.
At the moment, about 7,000 people work at Fukushima Daiichi every day as they prepare to scrap the reactors and deal with radioactive water.
Their work environment is expected to improve if radiation exposure from the tainted water drops. But some radioactive substances will remain in the water even after being treated.

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