Australian news, and some related international items

TEPCO, which has made public the site of the undersea tunnel construction project, says that the project is proceeding smoothly without local consent for the discharge of treated water into the ocean

Workers monitor a shield machine digging an undersea tunnel at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Futaba-machi, Fukushima Prefecture.

September 6, 2022
On September 6, TEPCO opened to the media the construction site of an undersea tunnel that will be used to purify and treat contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Okuma and Futaba towns, Fukushima Prefecture) for discharge into the ocean. Excavation of the tunnel began on August 4 and has progressed to about 80 meters out of its total length of about 1 kilometer. The plan is to finish all the work by next spring, but it is not clear whether the tunnel will actually be able to discharge the water.

The low motor noise reverberated as we entered the narrow tunnel. The entrance to the tunnel was about 3 meters in diameter. Beyond that was a gentle descent. The interior was surrounded by white reinforced concrete walls and crowded with piping and equipment. Beyond the tunnel, a shield machine was digging into the bedrock, but we could not see it.
 No sound of digging could be heard, and it was quieter than one might imagine. The machine was digging at a rate of two centimeters per minute. When I touched the piping that carried the rock and mud that had been cut out of the machine to the outside, I felt as if hard objects were rolling around inside.
 A person in charge at the site said, “So far, work is going well.” A total of about 100 people work a day on a 24-hour shift, and digging will begin around the end of October at two to three times the current pace.
The fishermen’s union has promised that they will not dispose of the waste in any way (discharge into the ocean) without the understanding of the concerned parties. The fishermen’s union has maintained its opposition to ocean discharge and may not be able to discharge the waste even after the tunnel construction is completed. Kenichi Takahara, risk communicator for the Fukushima Daiichi Decommissioning Promotion Company, predicted, “I think the release will only happen when both the construction of safe facilities and efforts to gain understanding can be accomplished.
 According to TEPCO’s plan, the treated water, which mainly contains radioactive tritium, will be diluted with a large amount of seawater to less than 1/40th of the national emission standard and released from the seafloor at a depth of about 12 meters through a tunnel. (The water will be discharged from the seafloor at a depth of about 12 meters through a tunnel.)
TEPCO announced the start of construction of an undersea tunnel to discharge “treated water” from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Citizens’ exclamations

September 12, 2022 Posted by | Fukushima, Fukushima 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Work proceeds on building tunnel to discharge treated water at Fukushima N-plant

A construction worker on Tuesday handles a machine that is being used to build a tunnel at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to discharge ‘treated’ water into the ocean.

September 7, 2022

FUKUSHIMA — Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. held a press viewing of the construction site of an underwater tunnel leading to the ocean for discharging treated water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

The treated water is to be piped to an offshore discharge site through the tunnel, which is about 1-kilometer long.

On the seaward side of reactor Nos. 5 and 6, there is a shaft about 18 meters deep that leads to a tunnel with a diameter of 3.1 meters that extends toward the sea.

The walls of the tunnel are covered with reinforced concrete to prevent leakage.

A shield machine with many pipes and cables has been used to dig about 80 meters since Aug. 4.

A worker was monitoring the excavation amid the loud sound of the motor.

“Once the tunnel is excavated to 150 meters, the pace of excavation will be several times faster from that point forward,” said a TEPCO official. “We’ll proceed with safety as our top priority.”

The excavation is proceeding smoothly, but rough seas have prevented the installation of the discharge port at the end of the tunnel, which was scheduled to be done in August.

The ocean is expected to be even rougher in the winter. The failure to install the outlet before then could delay the construction work and possibly push back the start of water discharge, which is scheduled in the spring, to around summer.


September 12, 2022 Posted by | Fukushima, Fukushima 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Operator shows digging of tunnel to release treated water from Fukushima Daiichi

Sept. 6, 2022

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has shown to media work to dig an underwater tunnel for releasing treated water from the facility into the ocean.

Tokyo Electric Power Company began building the tunnel in early August to release the water about one kilometer offshore, after diluting it.

The operator gained approval for the work from the Nuclear Regulation Authority and local authorities. The project is in line with the Japanese government’s policy.

On Tuesday, media were allowed to view the construction site, where workers used a huge excavator called a shield machine under the seabed.

The tunnel starts about 16 meters underground near a quay wall of the plant’s No.5 and 6 reactor buildings.

TEPCO officials say the tunnel is being dug at a pace of five to six meters a day, and is so far 80 meters long.

The firm aims to complete the work next spring, but has suggested it may take until next summer, depending on weather.

Local fishery workers have expressed concern about possible reputational damage from the release. Fukushima Prefecture and other local authorities say the plan has yet to gain public understanding.

Reactors at the plant suffered meltdowns in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Water used to cool molten fuel at the facility mixes with rain and groundwater. Accumulated water is treated to remove most radioactive materials and stored in tanks on the plant’s premises.

The filtered water still contains tritium. The government plans to dilute the water to bring the concentration of tritium well below the percentage permitted by national regulations.

The amount of tritium in the diluted water is also ‘expected’ to be below World Health Organization guidance levels for drinking water quality.

September 12, 2022 Posted by | Fukushima, Fukushima 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment