February 9, 2015
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says a plan to fill in underground tunnels at the defunct facility will be delayed by 2 weeks.
TEPCO officials announced the new schedule at a meeting with the Nuclear Regulation Authority, or NRA, on Monday. The new timetable will start late this month.
TEPCO had initially planned to remove highly-radioactive water from the tunnels after building an ice wall to stop the water from leaking out of reactor buildings.
The workers poured cement into the tunnels while draining contaminated water. But blocking the water was not successful as it continued to flow through the buildings.
The officials said in the new plan, they will fill in areas where unblocked tunnels and reactor buildings join to stop the tainted water from seeping out.
NRA regulators mostly approved the plan. They will continue to probe what else is necessary to do.
The setback for water blocking effort is likely to affect the plan to build the ice wall.
TEPCO officials say the plan is already 2 weeks to a month behind schedule due to a fatal accident at the plant.
They say they do not yet know how the latest delay will affect the whole decommissioning project. They are still studying the next steps they need to take.