After admitting that between 300 to 600 tons of coolant water is leaking into the Pacific Ocean every day, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has decided to surround the crippled nuclear power plant with a 1.4 km long ice wall that will cost between $300-$410 million.
According to Engineering.com, sink pipes with constantly cycling coolant will surround reactors 1 through 4. Estimated time to completion is one to two years.
Ground freezing is used in mining. Cameco used freezing on its Cigar Lake mine to contain underground water, but nothing has ever been built on this scale. If completed the Fukushima artificial ice wall would be the world's largest.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the leaks an "urgent problem."
The expensive ice wall will be a drop in the bucket compared to what Japanese taxpayers have already spent. To date the cost of cleaning up the Fukushima nuclear disaster is US$112 billion.
Image of Fukushima nuclear power plant by Kawamoto Takuo