TOKYO (Sputnik) – TEPCO started to construct the ice wall in mid-2014 as a part of a $309-million project. Pipes that have been installed about 30 meters (almost 100 feet) below ground surface will be filled with a cooling liquid, which should prevent contaminated water from passing through. It will reportedly take eight months to complete the project.
On Wednesday, the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority approved TEPCO’s plan to freeze soil around the damaged reactor buildings at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
In March 2011, the Fukushima nuclear power plant was hit by a 46-foot tsunami, triggered by a 9.0-magnitude offshore earthquake. The accident is considered to be the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
The tsunami caused three of the plant's six reactors to melt down and radioactive materials leaked into the sea and air. Ground water contamination continues to be a major concern as the amount of water collecting underneath the plant is increasing.
According to TEPCO, the cleanup operation, including the dismantling of the plant's reactors, may take up to 40 years to complete.