Japan’s Nuclear Regulator Authority has approved a plan to build an underground ice wall beneath the Fukushima nuclear plant in order to protect nearby groundwater.
According to a report from the AFP, groundwater from nearby hillsides has been mixing with polluted water as it flows beneath the plant. The polluted water was used to cool reactors that went into meltdown after an earthquake and tsunami hit the Fukushima Prefecture in March 2011.
Tokyo Electric Power Company’s plan is to freeze the earth beneath the plant down to 100 feet by sending “a special refrigerant” through a series of pipes in the soil, creating a massive ice wall that will stretch 0.9 miles. According to a report from The Verge, the wall is expected to reach temperatures of an incredible minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Construction of the wall is expected to cost 32 billion yen, or $314 million. The cost of the project has raised concerns among officials as well as the fact that an ice wall, while having been used in the construction of tunnels and subways, has never been used for the exact purpose Japan will be using this one for.
The wall is expected to be complete in March 2015.