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Japan nuclear plant ice wall questioned

TOKYO — Experts on Friday expressed skepticism about a plan to build a costly underground frozen wall at Japan’s crippled nuclear plant, a development that could delay the start of construction on the project.

The experts and Japanese nuclear regulatory officials said during a meeting in Tokyo that they weren’t convinced the project can resolve a serious contaminated water problem at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which suffered multiple meltdowns following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

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The $320 million government-funded project would surround the plant’s four crippled reactors and their turbine buildings with an underground ice wall to block ground water from flowing into the buildings’ basements and mixing with highly radioactive water leaks from the melted cores.

Government officials say a feasibility test at the plant was successful. But experts have said that while a frozen wall is a proven technology, the size and planned duration of use at Fukushima is unprecedented.

More than three years after the March 2011 meltdowns, the plant is still plagued by a massive amount of contaminated water.

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