Japan to start building ice wall to contain radioactive water in Fukushima
Friday, May 30, 2014, 5:40 PM - On Monday, Japanese officials approved a plan to freeze the soil beneath the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in an effort to contain radioactive water leaks.
Construction of the giant, underground ice wall is expected to begin in June.
While similar techniques have been used in the past to control radioactive leaks, it's never been applied on such a large scale.
The government-funded initiative entails building a 1.5 km frozen wall, which will be kept cool with the help of underground pipes fueled with a refrigerant.
Scientists believe the wall will help prevent nearby groundwater from mixing with polluted water that's used to cool the reactors that were damaged in a March, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
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The idea was proposed last year as authorities grapple to contain the mounting volume of contaminated water at the plant.
The Daiichi plant is being de-comissioned, but it will be several decades before the process is complete.
On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck northeastern Japan, triggering a massive tsunami that was seven metres high.
Tens of thousands of people were left dead or missing.