Calling all newsviners, who can improve my plan to develop some semblance of control and ultimately, remediation, of Fukushima??
They should also be speciating exactly the types of radionuclides in these waters. A respectable lab should be able to tell us exactly what’s in this water in a matter of days. It’s time to stop the denials, accept the problem for the colossal one that it is, and begin a comprehensive understanding that may lead to comprehensive solutions.
The first thing that needs to happen is a shielding of the reactors. The most devastating event that could happen is another atmospheric ejection of nuclear material. From my end, the most immediate danger appears to be from the (very much not spent) Spent Fuel Pool of Reactor 4. If cooling were lost or interaction between those rods was to be allowed, we would see a devastating result including ejection of much of that material into the atmosphere to be spread worldwide. A competent cover that could mitigate the risk of such an explosion is required.
I propose a zeolite and borax sand matrix packed into he reactor buildings. Interlaced in the sand would be a steam venting system, with requisite scrubbers, as well as a cooling piping system to continue to provide augmented water to the nuclear fuel. All current pumping systems should and would remain in place during the “Packing.” Soils would have to be built up around the exterior of the buildings to maintain equilibrium of pressure on the walls to prevent collapse.
Once the venting, cooling, and radiation sorption barrier is in place, we cap the site over with the surrounding landscape. Sufficient soil cover will provide a radiation barrier, suppress any potential fission induced explosions due to loss of cooling or mishandling of fuel (thereby eliminating the route of exposure to the atmosphere), provide earthquake protection, provide typhoon protection, provide tsunami protection, and create a workable environment for further remediation efforts. Corium and fuel rod material will ultimately be able to be extracted by drilling through the soil cap in a relatively safe manner, by containerizing the drill cuttings without any outside interaction.
For the groundwater itself, this ice wall is a ridiculously complicated idea that has very little upside versus more conventional, non-powered, and less experimental methods. Using large diameter bore rigs, a subterranean groundwater curtain down to necessary depth should be drilled and injected with impermeable slurry. Downstream of the plant, I propose a zeolite semi-permeable slurry to slow the water flow from the plant and into the ocean and scrub it as much as passively possible. The surface of the interior of the wall should be capped where ever possible with clays and impermeable soils, and that surface should be provided with positive drainage that exits outside of the slurry wall.
While all of this is happening, a permanent 2 million gallon per day full scale industrial water treatment plant should be being constructed uphill. Are they already building this? It would strike me as incredibly odd if they weren’t already building this. The hastily assembled french job thrown together in the months after the accident isn’t still the only method of treatment on site is it?
A series of tightly knit pumping wells will also need to be installed within the slurry walls, and that water will go to the water treatment plant. The tanks should be getting pumped towards the permanent water treatment plant. Injection wells could be placed on the outside of the slurry wall containment area to create a pillow that slows the movement of water through the site.
I’m sure there are a million more things that can be done, but this is a very basic road map that… well.. ought to save human health as we know it.