Its been a long time since I posted any updates on Fukushima. I wanted to note two important recent stories. The first, in the NY Times:
Is ostensibly about an intriguing new technology, muon imaging, that may enable clean up crews to peer into the reactor buildings. But the most important part of the story comes in the first two paragraphs:
Nobody really knows, because nobody has yet examined many of the most important parts of the wreckage. Though three and a half years have passed, it is still too dangerous to climb inside for a look, and sending in a camera would risk more leaks.
This has been the first point I make when people ask me about Fukushima: nobody has looked at the problem yet. Imagine if you had a massive leak in the pipes of your house. Your first goal might be to switch off the main water supply, and remove excess water. But if, after 3 years nobody had taken a look at the damage caused or the cause of the leak, where would that leave you? To clean something up, you need to look at it first. No one has done that, and until they do, we can say that there is currently no (credible) plan to clean up Fukushima.
The other article shows the failure of the "Frozen Wall" plan...a dubious plan from the start in my mind.
Apparently its just not so easy to make a huge block of soil freeze solid. I remember in geology class learning that each kilometer down you dig, the temp. of the Earth increases by a certain amount (hence mines are very hot). I'm sure they are fighting this and many other factors. Since the "China Syndrome" has, effectively, happened, perhaps we should revisit the article, written by a Manhattan Project veteran, in which the term was coined. Actually, another blogger has already done so: