Fukushima Electrokinetic Fence
On 11 March 2011 the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was damaged by a tsunami. The existing 5.5m seawall was far too low to protect it from 14m tsunami waves and easily breached, disabling the plant's back-up power source. More importantly groundwater flowing down the hills behind the plant mixed with water used to cool the reactors, seeped into the small harbour and the open sea. In the following years several plans were developed and measures taken to help prevent radioactive water from reaching the open sea. However, without much results. In January 2014 Lambda Consult prepared a preliminary proposal, suggesting that an "Electrokinetic Fence" could be a realistic and feasible option to solve the problem. TEPCO never gave a reaction, but chose to implement a 30m deep, $ 0.3 billion Ice Wall. Frozen-wall technology is not new, but had never been attempted on such a large scale. Critics said the multi million $ plan was far too costly and impractical. But Tepco decided to implement this technology and work started in 2014. According to TEPCO, significant progress has been made in water during the past year of 2015, but the frozen wall is still not functioning (Read more) and currently many thousand metric tons of water flow into the reactor building daily from the nearby hills.
Fukushima Demonstration Project for Seawater Purification Technologies
On 24 March, 2014, the Mitsubishi Research Institute Inc. being the Project Management Office for the “Project of Decommissioning and Contaminated Water Management.” issued a RFP (Request for Proposal) for entities to receive subsidies and implement the “Validation of technologies for contaminated water management project” in the FY2013 Supplementary Budget.
In this case we also proposed the use of electrokinetic technology to find a solution for this problem, consisting of removing the radioactive species from the seawater in the small harbour without using pump & treat. Unfortunately we could not meet in time all the stringent requirements imposed in the request for proposal due to late notification about the RFP. Another reason was that we foresaw problems to meet the time limit laid down for the implementation of the demo project. We therefor submitted our proposal out of competition.