via EX-SKF / July 28, 2014 / TEPCO says by dumping ice and dry ice they can lower the temperature of the contaminated water in the trench to about 5 degrees Celsius, then they will be able to form a continuous ice plug.

Here I thought that water freezes at zero degree Celsius. As the whole world is seemingly going crazy afresh this July, maybe TEPCO is correct that water does freeze at 5 degrees Celsius.

On July 24, 2014, TEPCO started the experiment of dumping ice into the Reactor 2 turbine building trench, trying to freeze highly contaminated water which has refused to freeze despite 3 months of freezing effort. Workers dumped only 2 tonnes of ice, or 4 bags with 500 kilograms of ice each.

Workers seem to be wearing vests, probably to shield ambient radiation. The location is the oceanside (east side) of the turbine building, where, according to the latest survey map by TEPCO as of July 8, 2014 (which I had a very hard time locating in TEPCO’s updated site) the radiation level looks to be about 0.20 millisieverts (or 200 microsieverts) per hour. According to TEPCO, workers spent two and a half hours dumping 2 tonnes of ice using shovels.

Locations of the trenches filled with highly contaminated water (most likely from April/May 2011), and the locations in blue squares TEPCO wants to create ice plugs so that no water from the turbine buildings enters the trenches, from TEPCO’s presentation to Nuclear Regulation Authority on 7/7/2014, when TEPCO disclosed that after three months of attempt, the water was still not frozen (English labels are by


Part of TEPCO’s survey map (7/8/2014) showing ambient radiation levels, with “Shaft A” marked (by me) in red square:


So why isn’t the water freezing? According to TEPCO’s convoluted explanation to NRA on 7/7/2014, it is because of the fluctuation of water levels in the turbine building which creates water flow through the gaps created by the pipes that go through the turbine building walls. The flow was strong enough to disturb the freezing process, which TEPCO hadn’t anticipated from the mock-up.

I do remember from January, I believe, a meeting at Nuclear Regulation Authority in which TEPCO and NRA commissioners discussed these ice plugs. Commissioner Fuketa openly questioned the efficacy of the scheme, asking TEPCO why they were planning to create a plug right outside the turbine building where lots of pipes are going through in a narrow space, as you can see even in TEPCO’s simplified presentation to NRA on 7/7/2014 (English labels are by me) below.

The red rectangle right outside the turbine building is the ice plug to be created. The purple pipe in the diagram going down to the red rectangle is where workers were dumping ice.


Commissioner Fuketa also expressed doubt that it would ever freeze. I think he even asked what TEPCO’s “Plan B” was, in case it would not freeze. TEPCO’s answer was that it would freeze. (Watching this futile exchange live, I kept thinking, “Why can’t they just pour concrete?”)

Well the water didn’t freeze. Nowhere close. TEPCO’s measurement shows the temperature of part of the water which should have frozen is as high as 15 degrees Celsius, after 3 months of freezing.

So dumping ice and dry ice, then, is TEPCO’s “Plan B”. And ask the god of physics to look the other way and make water freeze at 5 degrees Celsius at sea level.

Ahhh good (bad) old days are back… when TEPCO used diaper polymers, saw dusts, shredded newspaper to try to stop the same highly contaminated water in the same set of trenches from pouring into the plant harbor.

It feels it was only yesterday.


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By Broc West| 7 Comments | Featured, News


  1. I fully support your idea of using concrete. Concrete would also be a viable solution insted of the ‘ice wall’ which is supposed to prevent the ground water from seeping (gushing?) in: Dig a deep trench, or drill holes and fill up with concrete. Afer the concrete solidifies, no external power support will be needed to keep temperatures low, as with this utterly stupid freezing thechnology. Keep it simple.

  2. Perhaps the idea is that if ice/dry ice can get the temperature down to five degrees, that would be sufficient to allow the refrigerants to do the rest. I don’t think they really believe the water will freeze at that temperature.

    What I don’t understand is how they intend to keep it frozen, if and when they manage to freeze it. They can’t continually dump dry ice, and if the current refrigeration systems can only keep the water at fifteen degrees I don’t see how they will be sufficient to maintain temperatures below zero once the supplemental cooling (dry ice) is stopped. Even if the only problem is too much warm water coming out of the reactor, which they hope to block, this water will still be melting the edge of the ice cube.

    So typical that they don’t have a plan “B”. I’ll bet they still don’t, even as plan “A” has been failing for months. That is the problem with the entire nuclear industry – the failure to recognize that their best laid plans, their best engineering, could fail, and no realistic way to deal with the results when it does. As we have seen so dramatically at Fukushima.

  3. Maybe they could use molten salt to fill the holes. The new reactor guys have been talking about using salt plugs for walk away type reactors, but their plug is meant to melt and redirect the radioactive materials to another area that will shut down the reaction in the process. This is my very limited understanding of it.

    But the questions I am asking are; Would molten salt be solidified if you added the cold after you allowed the salt to fill the holes?

    Then, Would you be able to maintain a temperature cold enough to keep it solid after?

    Or even; Why don’t you use concrete? I think that is what worked for Chernobyl, right?

    Like I have stated above, I have very little understanding of this stuff. But I think I speak for most people on the planet when I say,

    ”This effects the whole world and it should be handled in an open way that evolves any and all of the great minds on the planet that are willing to help and all information should be given without any sugar coating.”

  4. “Tepco says”… Huh… How about “Simon Says”…
    Simon Says, “Tepco, Get your heads out of your arse.”
    Simon Says, “Tepco, Stop lying.”
    Simon Says: “People of Japan, rise up and take what’s left of your country back before your insane Government and the Tepco Nuppets murder you and the rest of the planet”.

    • @Simon: Just what is it you think the Japanese people can do to prevent their goverment from murdering everyone on the planet?

      • Mass suicide probably. No people – no goverment – problem solved.

  5. the world always sees the need to intervene when the danger is tangible and apparent. the nature of this situation should merit a more direct approach, instead it’s been swept under the carpet,ignored, botched and handled as respectively as if it were a leaking septic tank. you’re going to tell me they’re smart enough to build a nuclear reactor but don’t even know how to plug a leak, think bigger. a couple buckets of dry ice, years later ,isnt going to cut it, for all we know this is the cause of the bizarre weather patterns…as a species we are not that smart. but atleast clean up after our mistakes. punish their negligence and strip them of their rights to deal with this responsibly, it’s no longer just a japanese problem it’s all our mess.

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