In March, Inhabitat ran a story about how the Japanese government had pledged $470 million towards the construction of a massive ice wall that they hoped would contain the radiation from the Fukushima disaster. Now comes news that the bizarre project has actually received the green light and construction is set to begin immediately.
If you thought massive ice walls were limited to the likes of Game of Thrones, then you were wrong. While the fantasy series is famed for its epic ice structure, however, Japan’s proposed initiative will take place underground and will see engineers freeze the soil beneath the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in a bid to try to slow the build-up of radioactive water.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority says that plans for the wall’s construction will start in July and will begin with the blocking of groundwater from nearby hillsides. That groundwater has been flowing under the plant and mixing with polluted water to cool reactors that went into meltdown after the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
The water will then be circulated in a special refrigerant in order to create a large 1.5-kilometre (0.9-mile)frozen wall that will stem the inflow of groundwater.
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has stated that they will have to review other parts of the project in case it jeopardizes existing structures, such as the underground drains. Scientists have said that while the project could work, something on this scale has never been done before, especially in the proposed length of time.
With the ice wall keeping the radiation from leaking into the local waterways, TEPCO will continue to decommission the Fukushima plant—an operation that could take several decades. The area around the plant remains out of bounds due to the high levels of radiation.