” The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says a steel barrier that it built along the plant’s embankment is causing an unexpected problem.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, installed the steel piling wall in October to prevent contaminated groundwater from flowing into the sea.
The utility had planned to pump up the blocked water, remove radioactive materials from most of it, and release it into the sea.
But on Friday, TEPCO officials told nuclear regulators that the water has too high a salt content to be processed by decontamination equipment.
They also said the amount of pumped-up water was larger than expected.
The officials say workers are therefore releasing the water not into the sea, but into reactor buildings. They say the amount is about 400 tons per day.
The utility had previously been reducing the flow of water into the plant’s buildings.
Workers have been pumping up groundwater from wells inside the compound, and had managed to reduce its inflow into buildings from 400 tons to 200 tons per day.
TEPCO says it plans to pump up more groundwater upstream so that less reaches the embankment.
It says it will also try to process the salty water by monitoring changes in its quality. ”