The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has revealed that a brand new 780 meter long protective barrier designed to prevent contaminated groundwater from getting into the ocean is already falling over. The massive wall was only completed just last month. The report comes as TEPCO has restarted construction on a giant wall of ice that will be used to prevent groundwater from entering into the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Even though the wall is falling over, TEPCO says that it will continue to hold up and contain the contaminated water. Still, there is present fear of radiation poisoning in Japan. Recently, Japanese scientists developed a special scanner that will be used to measure the levels of radioactive materials that are present in one’s body.
Currently, the 780 meter wall limits the flow of contaminated water into the sea to only ten tons per day. Without the wall, 400 tons of radioactive water would enter into the sea every day. The “impermeable” wall reaches 30 meters below the ground, but is already starting to lean over.
Still, TEPCO officials have insisted that the “slight lean” should not affect the ability of the barrier to block the flow of water. For now, TEPCO has started using steel pillars to reinforce the wall.
Making matters worse is that an inspection of the barrier upon its completion in late October showed that the wall had cracks along its perimeter. TEPCO officials have stated that these cracks were caused by rising levels of groundwater. Officials have continuously repaired these cracks in order to ensure that rain does not further increase the levels of groundwater.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred almost five years ago, when the area was hit by an earthquake and an ensuing tsunami. Japanese citizens are still particularly worried about possible negative health effects from exposure to radiation. Such radiation poisoning would most likely have the largest effect in young children.