Solutions To Avoid More Contaminated Sea Releases At Fukushma

Novel Temporary Water Storage Solutions At Fukushima Daiichi

Research Team
Peter Melzer
Dean Curtis
Nancy Foust
Elaine Kirk

As of June 20, 2011 the nuclear power plant at Fukushima Daiichi is estimated to be one week away from exhausting all water storage at the power plant. The water
decontamination system being implemented on site is experiencing ongoing challenges as the plant staff tries to trouble shoot a system created from parts by disparate vendors. This is a difficult and time sensitive problem. The growing concern is that highly contaminated water will need to be released into the sea. Previous releases both intentional and unintentional have already created a significant problem for sea life, plants and concentrations found on the sea floor. More releases should be avoided if at all possible.

The following suggestions based on our research should be implemented immediately in order to prevent a disastrous and long term increase in damages to the Pacific.

A simple system of temporary water holding technologies could be installed quickly at higher elevations of the power plant premises. For example, there are two unused recreational fields at the plant. A baseball diamond exists to the south near the existing waste treatment facility. A large soccer field is on the north end of the plant. This strategy could be used to avoid possible need to release water into the sea.

A detailed Google Map of these locations can be found here:
http://maps.google.com/maps?msid=204207727270072057406.0004a639dae459ddc881d&msa=0&ll=37.428269,141.030056&spn=0.009883,0.026157&t=h&z=16

The baseball diamond could be used to house temporary bladder type storage containers. These collapsible containers are commonly used for fuel or water storage and are readily available. This would be first stage temporary storage. We suggest that these tanks be put on a base of sand to prevent punctures and fenced with temporary fencing to keep animals out.

The soccer field could be used as a temporary holding pond. There are some examples of open holding ponds being used for low level radioactive water at various sites. Such a holding pond would take some time to excavate. The collapsible tanks could act as initial holding until the pond is ready and give some additional capacity to buy time as the water treatment system is brought online. The soccer field pond should be lined with a radiation resistant plastic pond liner and a layer of sodium bentonite as a double lining system.

Sodium bentonite is a commonly used sealant and lining clay for industrial ponds. It absorbs radioactivity and is used as a sealant in subsurface disposal systems for spent nuclear fuel.

In conjunction with a sodium bentonite liner a radiation resistant plastic pond liner should be used. Industrial pond liners commonly have the ability to “weld” the sheet panels together to create a large sold sheet as a base liner.

These plastics are known to be radiation resistant or used in radioactive applications:

(PET) – Polyethylene terephthalate, PEEK® – Polyetheretherketone, (PS) Polystyrene ,
Torlon® (PAI) – Polyamide-imide, (PI) Polyimide , (PPSU) Polyphenylsulfone, (PEI) Polyether Imide, (PE) Polyethlene

*Polyimide (PI)  – is noted as the most effective plastic in radiation resistance.
*Polyethlene is commonly used as a retention pond lining material

For some additional low tech water decontamination rafts of sunflowers can be used as a phytoremediation technique. This technique has been used at Chernobyl. The sunflowers take up cesium in the roots and stronium into the stalks. The plant material can then be broken down and disposed of as radioactive waste when no longer usable.

The risk of tsunami infiltration is always a concern. Based on TEPCO’s tsunami impact reports, images and topographical maps the baseball field and soccer field are higher than the areas flooded by the tsunami. Tsunami waters infiltrated up to the 14 metres above sea level areas of the plant. The two recreational fields sit at the 34 metres level. They appear to be high enough to not be at risk of tsunami infiltration. This estimation should be referred to the proper agencies tasked with tsunami predictions in the area for confirmation.

O.P. refers to sea level

These solutions are simple to implement, use commonly found supplies and could provide the flexible temporary capacity needed to avoid more devastating and long term ocean contamination.

This research and strategy project was created by members of the crowd sourced information group fukuleaks.org/web. We provide crowd sourced information research & analysis without focus on profit. This report is part of the current Fukushima Project focusing on solutions and education of the challenges of this worldwide event.

Bibliography

Environmental Science by Daniel D. Chiras, Page 524
Retrieved June 20, 2011 at Google Books
http://books.google.com/books?id=_3zLQvhENVMC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

Radiation Resistant Plastics
Retrieved June 20, 2011
http://www.wclco.com/Plastic_Components/General_Plastic_Guide.php

Plastics radiation resistance levels
Retrieved June 20, 2011
http://www.omnexus.com/plastics-channels/metal-replacement/performances.aspx?id=gamma

Pond liners
Retrieved June 20, 2011
http://www.westernliner.com/pvc.html

Hazardous container liners
Retrieved June 20, 2011
http://www.westernliner.com/hazardous-containment-liners.html

Temporary storage tanks/bladders
Retrieved June 20, 2011
http://www.erosionpollution.com/flexiblefueltanks.html

TEPCO tsunami reports
Retrieved June 22, 2011
http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/betu11_e/images/110409e9.pdf
http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/11041304-e.html
http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/11040910-e.html

Topographic map
http://watchizu.gsi.go.jp/watchizu25.html?longitude=141.025167&latitude=37.424492

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One thought on “Solutions To Avoid More Contaminated Sea Releases At Fukushma

  • June 23, 2011 at 6:22 pm
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    Good job! It’s easier to critique than to offer solutions. Proud of the website and you fine people. 🙂

    Reply

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