Japan to fund ice wall to stop reactor leaks
Posted on September 3, 2013 at 6:46 am by Associated Press in Nuclear

TOKYO ? The Japanese government announced Tuesday that it will spend $470 million on a subterranean ice wall and other steps in a desperate bid to stop leaks of radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear station after repeated failures by the plant?s operator.

The decision is widely seen as an attempt to show that the nuclear accident won?t be a safety concern just days before the International Olympic Committee chooses between Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid as the host of the 2020 Olympics.

The Fukushima Dai-ichi plant has been leaking hundreds of tons of contaminated underground water into the sea since shortly after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami damaged the complex. Several leaks from tanks storing tainted water in recent weeks have heightened the sense of crisis that the plant?s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co., isn?t able to contain the problem.

?Instead of leaving this up to TEPCO, the government will step forward and take charge,? said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said after adopting the outline. ?The world is watching if we can properly handle the contaminated water but also the entire decommissioning of the plant.?...