Tuesday, August 12, 2014

#Fukushima I NPP Progress Report on Ice Plug in Reactor 2 Trench: Dry Ice Clogged the Freezing Pipe, No Discernible Effect on Freezing the Contaminated Water

The latest on the progress (or lack thereof) of TEPCO's tragi-comical effort to freeze highly contaminated water in the trench leading from the Reactor 2 turbine building (see my post on 7/28/2014 for details) is that the pipe they've been using to dump ice and dry ice got clogged with dry ice. TEPCO admits there has been no discernible effect of ice/dry ice on freezing the water.

So what's your Plan C?

From TV Asahi News (8/12/2014; part):


Fukushima I NPP: TEPCO plays its "ace", which ends up clogging the pipe


It has been revealed that dry ice, which is being poured [into the freezing pipe] as the surest bet to freeze the water in the underground trench as part of the measures to deal with contaminated water at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, has had no effect.


The national government and TEPCO have been trying to freeze the highly contaminated water in the underground trench by installing a metal pipe and pouring liquid coolant through the pipe [since April this year]. But as the effort has failed to freeze the water, TEPCO has started to pour ice since July 30. Total 222 tonnes of ice have been poured into the pipe as of the morning of August 11. In the press conference on August 11, TEPCO said the effect [of ice] in freezing the contaminated water was "unknown", admitting that there was no discernible effect. Further, when they tried to pour in 1 tonne of dry ice on August 7 as the "surest bet" to freeze the water, it clogged up the pipe. TEPCO has halted the pouring of dry ice.

The pipe through which workers have been dumping ice and dry ice (from TEPCO's photos and videos library 7/24/2014):

The pipe (in purple color) in the diagram:

I am grateful for the news, because it gave me the first laughter of the day. Laughing is good for one's health, I hear (regardless of the topic, I hope).


netudiant said...

The purpose of this effort is not clear.
If the idea is to immobilize the water in the trenches in order to end radioactive leakage into the ocean, grouting the tunnels would be easier.
If the issue is the contaminated water, a mobile version of the ALPS or similar on a barge in the harbor would be more direct. TEPCO could just recirculate the trench water though the filtering system if the concern is that pumping water out would simply produce more inflow int6o the trenches.
As is, freezing a large volume of water with dry ice seems amateurish, as it is difficult to pour thousands of tons of dry ice into a 30cm pipe. A cold loop with chilled ammonia or Freon would be much more practical, although the cooling medium may well get contaminated in the effort.

Apolline said...

Tragi-comical, that's the word.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the only thing that is getting frozen are the idiots holding the ice.
This whole effort of bring everything to "cold shutdown" has proven that no such thing is possible....literally!

Anonymous said...

Just as well, that trench water (probably some saltwater) is so radioactively hot that it can't be dealt with properly. Everything Daiichi comes in contact with becomes either radioactive or radioactively contaminated. At those levels of contamination, a filtering system wouldn't last more than a couple of month before having to be scrapped.

There are no answers so far to contain the Daiichi's melts. It's unstoppable. Feed and bleed even if the feed or bleed is not controllable.

Anonymous said...

"no discernible effect of ice/dry ice on freezing the water"

I'm surprised no one's asked this question yet: Does the trench water freeze in lab experiments?

How "hard" is the trench water?

Does it have other unusual properties .. like not evaporating?


Anonymous said...


How "hard" IS the trench water?


Anonymous said...

where is the dry ice in the Pictures. i just see normal ice (water based, not CO2)
what are they trying to do? a japanese crushed ice?

Anonymous said...

Laugh like a drain?

Anonymous said...

Daiquiri machine!

Anonymous said...

How hard is the trench water ?
I think the trench fries.

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Keep on posting please!

Alok Masterbatches said...

The stopple method is used to insert a plugging into a pipe which is temporarily block sections of live pipelines. This method is used for a number of reasons like the affected section of a pipeline could be tapped, plugged and safety isolated without shutting down.

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