The many missteps by Tepco, the company charged with fixing the ongoing disaster at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant, have come to a head once again. New reports reveal that anywhere from 300 to 600 tons of contaminated water from the nuclear power plant have been leaking into the Pacific Ocean for the past two years. And now a new proposal has been floated in hopes of stemming the tide of contaminated water, and it involves a massive ice barrier.
The plan would have Tepco bury a series of pipes cooled to negative 40 degrees to freeze the surrounding soil and act as a dam to prevent more contaminated groundwater from seeping out into the ocean. However, the ice wall (shown in the diagram above) may prove to be of little help if the eastern region of Japan is hit by another major earthquake in the next few years, an event seismologists claim is now far more likely in the wake of the March 11 quake. Nevertheless, if we assume the ice wall will work, the only other problem with this plan is the fact that it would take anywhere from one to two years to complete.
Of course, by then, with four years of tons of contaminated water flowing into the waters off the east coast of Japan, we may finally find a name for the three-eyed fish from The Simpsons: the Fukushima Triclops. In all seriousness, the current situation at Fukushima is viewed by local and international nuclear experts as being in a state of emergency, despite the fact that the original accident occurred about two and a half years ago.
And although nuclear disaster was historic in its proportions, I still meet people from the U.S. and other western countries who have no idea what happened at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. For those people, below is a handy video recap from AFP, complete with illustrations, of exactly how the nuclear emergency started and what led to the current ongoing state of emergency.