Novel Temporary Water Storage Solutions At Daiichi NPP; Urges TEPCO Adoption

There Are Over 45 Pools Worth of Radioactive Water at Daiichi

Research Team:

Peter Melzer
Dean Curtis
Nancy Foust
Elaine Kirk


As of June 20, 2011 the nuclear power plant at Fukushima Daiichi is estimated to be one week away from exhausting all water storage at the power plant. The water decontamination system being implemented on site is experiencing ongoing challenges as the plant staff tries to trouble shoot a system created from parts by disparate vendors. This is a difficult and time sensitive problem. The growing concern is that highly contaminated water will need to be released into the sea. Previous releases both intentional and unintentional have already created a significant problem for sea life, plants and concentrations found on the sea floor. More releases should be avoided if at all possible.

The following suggestions based on our research should be implemented immediately in order to prevent a disastrous and long-term increase in damages to the Pacific.

A simple system of temporary water holding technologies could be installed quickly at higher elevations of the power plant premises. For example, there are two unused recreational fields at the plant. A baseball diamond exists to the south near the existing waste treatment facility. A large soccer field is on the north end of the plant. This strategy could be used to avoid possible need to release water into the sea.

A detailed Google Map of these locations can be found here.

The baseball diamond could be used to house temporary bladder type storage containers. These collapsible containers are commonly used for fuel or water storage and are readily available. This would be first stage temporary storage. We suggest that these tanks be put on a base of sand to prevent punctures and fenced with temporary fencing to keep animals out.

The soccer field could be used as a temporary holding pond. There are some examples of open holding ponds being used for low-level radioactive water at various sites. Such a holding pond would take some time to excavate. The collapsible tanks could act as initial holding until the pond is ready and give some additional capacity to buy time as the water treatment system is brought online. The soccer field pond should be lined with a radiation resistant plastic pond liner and a layer of sodium bentonite as a double lining system.

Sodium bentonite is a commonly used sealant and lining clay for industrial ponds. It absorbs radioactivity and is used as a sealant in subsurface disposal systems for spent nuclear fuel.

In conjunction with a sodium bentonite liner a radiation resistant plastic pond liner should be used. Industrial pond liners commonly have the ability to “weld” the sheet panels together to create a large solid sheet as a base liner.

These plastics are known to be radiation resistant or used in radioactive applications:

(PET) – Polyethylene terephthalate, PEEK® – Polyetheretherketone, (PS) Polystyrene ,
Torlon® (PAI) – Polyamide-imide, (PI) Polyimide , (PPSU) Polyphenylsulfone, (PEI) Polyether Imide, (PE) Polyethylene

*Polyimide (PI) – is noted as the most effective plastic in radiation resistance.
*Polyethylene is commonly used as a retention pond lining material

For some additional low tech water decontamination rafts of sunflowers can be used as a phytoremediation technique. This technique has been used at Chernobyl. The sunflowers take up cesium in the roots and strontium into the stalks. The plant material can then be broken down and disposed of as radioactive waste when no longer usable.

The risk of tsunami infiltration is always a concern. Based on TEPCO’s tsunami impact reports, images and topographical maps the baseball field and soccer field are higher than the areas flooded by the tsunami. Tsunami waters infiltrated up to the 14 metres above sea level areas of the plant. The two recreational fields sit at the 34 metres level. They appear to be high enough to not be at risk of tsunami infiltration. This estimation should be referred to the proper agencies tasked with tsunami predictions in the area for confirmation.

O.P. refers to sea level

These solutions are simple to implement, use commonly found supplies and could provide the flexible temporary capacity needed to avoid more devastating and long-term ocean contamination.

This research and strategy project was created by members of the crowd sourced information group We provide crowd sourced information research & analysis without focus on profit. This report is part of the current Fukushima Project focusing on solutions and education of the challenges of this worldwide event.


Environmental Science by Daniel D. Chiras, Page 524
Retrieved June 20, 2011 at Google Books

Radiation Resistant Plastics
Retrieved June 20, 2011

Plastics radiation resistance levels
Retrieved June 20, 2011

Pond liners
Retrieved June 20, 2011

Hazardous container liners
Retrieved June 20, 2011

Temporary storage tanks/bladders
Retrieved June 20, 2011

TEPCO tsunami reports
Retrieved June 22, 2011

Topographic map

This article would not be possible without the extensive efforts of the SimplyInfo research team
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6 thoughts on “Novel Temporary Water Storage Solutions At Daiichi NPP; Urges TEPCO Adoption

  • Pingback: Novel Temporary Water Storage Solutions, Urges TEPCO Adoption (Excellent Work Guys! Thank You. -CJ) « The Crisis Jones Report

  • June 25, 2011 at 12:57 am

    That was a lot of work and I commend you for that. You DO know that the water storage that is running out is holding HIGH-LEVEL radioactive water right? We’re talking the stuff that is in the basement and tunnels of the reactors, which they have pumped into everything that will possible hold water in the reactor building.

  • June 25, 2011 at 4:38 am

    stop gap now we are thinking. cannot let water loose.

    we need a technology to clean the water! mop the radioactive metals with a boron/based polymer such that the
    -metal -boron- metal- boron )n- boron can act as a nano neutron suppressor and possibly get higher concentrations of Pu, U, Sr, Cs , ect…within the polymer not become “too hot” and disposable?

    feasible? I would like to engage with possible solutions.

  • June 25, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Matthew,
    Yes, we are aware that water is highly radioactive. Some more than others. If the option is dumping this wholesale into the pacific or adding more temporary storage, the storage is a better option.

  • June 26, 2011 at 6:24 am

    On a technical basis the ideas seem feasible and sound, things that could be done with not much expense in short order using normal contractors…except for the radioactivity that is present in the proposed storage areas. Not the water, the contamination of the land itself. There are a few questions that still need to be answered…

    For instance…has anyone put any thought into how to do this with minimal health risk to additional workers? Installation of pond liners is not an unskilled task and I would imagine the process of “welding” the sheets together in a way that there would not be leaks would also require equipment and skills specific for the task. I would imagine there are few if any nuclear workers who would already have these skills. And even just bringing in portable storage containers will be labor intensive and require many workers to install them in a timely manner.

    Along with the safety issues, there are other logistical issues. Is there a safe way to transport all the raw materials into the area? Not only do we need the liners and tanks, but also thousands of tons of the sand and clay that goes under them. Is there a close source of these materials, or will they have to be shipped in? Even if the correct types of sand and clay are available, it will require excavation equipment and workers to move it. It may prove to be safer to just transport it to the location. But is there a safe way to truck in hundreds of tons of materials through contaminated countryside? Is there a feasible way to unload it from barges if it is brought in by water?

    I am sure with enough ingenuity it is possible to find a way to store this water safely away from the ocean. I just wanted to point out that the fact we have to consider other factors beyond the properties of the materials we are containing. Just because this is not easy does not mean it cannot be done. But, especially considering the nature of the toxic waste we are working with, we must think through all aspects of the problem, or else all our work and research will be worthless.

  • June 30, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    umm, how about installing hundreds of backyard above-ground swimming pools? Lots of them in our walmarts…


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