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Giant tent being built over Fukushima plant's No. 1 reactor

45 Comments
By Eric Talmadge

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45 Comments
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A tent? A bloody tent?

As usual it is far too little - way, way too late.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

first of all, anyone know if this will help against radiation (even a little?) and if so, why 5 whole months after the tsunami? They couldnt think of that sooner? sigh

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

A tent sounds like a great idea by the wise men of Tepco. Where did they buy it, Millets?

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Cool, a giant tent, that means the circus is in town.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

For what, to protect the environment or to conceal what is going there? Things getting worse? Corpses to hide from the eyes of the satellite survey cameras?

I can see no more usefulness of this amateurish, childish move than a little kickback for the Tepco executives again for ordering a special giant tent for a fortune from any of the hyenas rushing to the scene of the disaster in hope of a lucrative deal.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Reminds me of the blue plastic tarps that police are using to hide crime scenes from prying cameras.

But just this once, I'll give them the benefit of a doubt. It's to early to build a concrete sarkofag, so as a temporary solution it might be the way to go. But the tent should have been made much earlier.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

At least that had the intelligence to cover it after the rainy season, imagine if the tent got wet! Unfortunately, I suspect they are hiding something. Possibly pipes dumping waste in the sea. Something smells here,

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Does radiation pass through plastic? Of course not.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

a barrier from possible leaks or blasts

Polyester ... protect from blasts. Good luck with that.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Pulling curtains and closing doors?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

They couldnt think of that sooner? sigh

They DID think of this sooner. It was discussed on these very forums in April if not March. As the article says:

The work couldn’t begin until now because the location was too dangerous for workers to operate in.

Seems like with most commenters here the engineers are damned if they do, damned if they don't.

It seems to me that this tent is a good idea - of course it doesn't stop radiation, but it stops radioactive particles (dust and such) from escaping into the atmosphere and provides a cover for the exposed reactors so they can have better protection from wind and rain. How is this a bad thing?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The material the tent is made from is a very strong poly-vinyl, which should contain the immediate release of radiation although, it will very quickly disintegrate in a typhoon. Of course, the most obvious question is, why the heck did it take five months for them to do it?

I saw one report from an international agency that stated the ground had been fractured under the reactor and the radioactive water had been seeping into the ground water. I dunno how this tent will do anything to prevent this.

I guess the main thing the tent will achieve is, the satellites won't be able to peer in and see what TEPCO is not doing!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Ridiculous article. Firstly, this is not a tent. And secondly, this temporary structure has been planned, discussed, and reported on for months. For anyone who paid any attention, this is not news at all. Slow news day?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Japangal:

" Does radiation pass through plastic? Of course not. "

Of course some radiaton does. And some radiation does not.

But of course, that is not the issue at all. The issue, of course, is preventing the passage of particles. And for that, of course, this so-called "tent" which it is not, is absolutely sensible and useful.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Putting a tent over that is like trying to clean up toxic waste with an oven mitt.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

TEPCO, camping ain't gonna fix the problem!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The airtight roof - You may call it tent, You could also call it temporary sarcophagus - is a poor man's substitute for a sarcophagus like in Chernobyl. They will have to renew it very soon. But it has lots of positive effects.

First, it drastically reduces the particle flow into and out of the damaged building. The really dangerous stuff is not that little atmospheric iodine and iodine that is still around in Tokyo. The really dangerous shit that is still leaking out into the air are hot particles. These guys stick to Your internal organs and deliver an extremely high local dose. The "tent" can reduce the amount of these particles that get out through smoke, wind and rain. As such, it is very valuable. The only thing that should get through in any significant amount is gamma radiation and that reduces with the square of the distance.

The tent can't do anything about the water leakage. You would have to build a water-tight shell in the earth surrounding the facility. That is really expensive and a large scale project, because it has to done piecewise. But in principle it is possible, even though not in this year, if Tepco doesn't mobilize everything it has.

The important question why they are so slow is answered by the fact that they didn't tackle the situation as fast and concise as the Russians did in Chernobyl 25 years ago. No liquidators for Japan. Tepco and the Japanese government have been too proud to ask for help in countries that are more proficient with nuclear power (like those that already had dealt with nuclear accidents inside or near their borders). This is one of the main reasons why repairs don't advance faster. This is one of the main reasons, why people in Fukushima prefecture still don't know, how safe or unsafe their daily lives are. Japanese pride makes Japanese people suffer.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If i'm not mistaken, they used lead in the USSR and it took them 8 months to erect the containment 60m high and 18m thick. I find it reckless to start the construction 5 months after the melt down. Also, it took about 1 month to reduce the radiation level to 0.5 sieverts in 200m above Chernobyl plant.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

WilliBAug. 12, 2011 - 05:33PM JST

Firstly, this is not a tent.

Well, its not an awning. Canopy then? You know, usually when you make a "its not a !" statement, its followed by a "Its actually a ____." statement. Seems to me that tent is as good a word as any other, especially as it will house a circus.

Yes, iIt will help prevent radioactive materials from escaping. Equally important, it will prevent rainwater seepage.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ok, I'll agree the it is not a tent. It is a giant bandaid. It is a very short term fix, I hope it will help buy need time to build something better.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

The work couldn’t begin until now because the location was too dangerous for workers to operate in.

Why couldn't they wear radioactive projection suits and get it done? Meanwhile the rest of Japan all gets radiated.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Officials hope the cover will keep radioactive materials that have already leaked from spreading, prevent rainwater seepage and offer a barrier from possible leaks or blasts in the future.

Five months in, and "officiials hope" is still the operative phrase No more needs to be said.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Why don't they build it over all the reactors especially reactor 3. This is just a short term fix and doesn't solve the root of the problem. J-govt and Tempco know it;s a lost cause but won"t admit it.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

BIGGEST IDIOTS!!!

I wonder if comedians like Jay Leno, David Letterman or Jimmy Kimmel will have some fun with this latest comedy of idiocy brought to us by those idiots at Tepco and PM Kan's government.

SMBC, turn off the money flow and shut these morons down.

Keeping Tepco alive is like handing the keys to a 7-series BMW to a drunk driver. Reckless endangerment.

I THINK SO!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Putting up tents? Sounds like Tepco is organizing a lavish and boisterous jamboree. Don't know how they will invite the 143 workers that they kept no records of, though...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I am happy to hear that they are pitching a tent over all that bubbling energy . . . does anyone know what color? There will be a lot of pictures taken, and the background is mostly blue and green, so I am guessing a burnt orange, or maybe a light purple. I don't want them to get away with a dull gray.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I bet it says "Captain Stag" on it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If the tent is NOT Lead Lined Gamma Rays will Go through it Like it's NOT Even There PERIOD. And Removing the Top Soil from the Areas Where it is Needed is a very small step the Cleaning the Contamination. The HOMES and other structures are also CONTAMINATED. They above all need to be torn down and gotten rid of.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well, before the official erection of the tent I hope that there is a proper ceremony -- like sports day -- only with hot Docomo girls passing out flyers about nuclear power, or maybe Tepco has some eye candy that can show up in short skirts, and hopefully the wind will be strong and blowing out to sea.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The tent is so that rainwater will not leach more radioactive material into the soil or runoff into the sea. Of course the rainy season will be over soon, so maybe it's too little too late. But if any of you have a better idea I'm sure the engineers would be happy to hear it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am curious as to the extreme levels that will be measured inside the tent. Like trapping a bunch of farts inside a jar.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Will the tent be robust enough to stand up to the strongest winds that will occur? Or can it be taken down in a hurry if it looks in danger of blowing away?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

if it doesn't involve water and concrete or iron the shield can't block radiation i guess this is a waste of money to look pretty for the press

0 ( +1 / -1 )

(Sigh) As has already been pointed out, THIS ISN'T INTENDED TO BLOCK RADIATION (gamma rays). This is intended to block irradiated "alpha" particles from being picked up by the wind and deposited downrange. That way you are not likely to be riding your bike 80km away from the plant and breathe in an alpha particle, which will then settle in and start to destroy your lung with localized gamma radiation.

As to why it took so long to start building this, I suppose you think they had the materials just laying around and could have started on March 13? No. Somebody had to DESIGN the "tent", then people had to verify it would work as intended under various conditions before the work order for materials was issued. Then some company had to actually get started manufacturing the panels of the tent. I'm ordering replacement windows for my house. I'm going to have to wait over six weeks before they arrive because THEY TAKE TIME TO BUILD AND SHIP.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

if it doesn't involve water and concrete or iron the shield can't block radiation i guess this is a waste of money to look pretty for the press

Didn't you read any of the explanations in this comment thread? There's several that explain what the tent is for, and it's not for show.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"The work couldn’t begin until now because the location was too dangerous for workers to operate in."

But these guys that work on the tent now will just be lost track of later, so no worries.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Are they going to construct Tents over sites when removing topsoil? Of course not the wind has free reign and what about the Roofs of Buildings where radiation fallout is prevalent ? they get No tent either I guess the wind has free reign on those too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

THEY TAKE TIME TO BUILD AND SHIP.

this is a bad excuse. People, think wisely - please do not try to help out tepco... AT ALL!!

5 months to make a "tent" ? common sense please - this is a joke.

fixing this mess should be #1 priority, any other projects by any contractors involved in the "tent" should have been shelved to make this thing sooner. No cost should be spared, cleaning this mess should be #1 priority!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Decontamination not successful at nuke plant

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/11_31.html

Excerpt: TEPCO is reducing the amount of water injection into the reactors to prevent an increase in the amount of contaminated water, but the effort could be a hurdle in achieving a cold shutdown.

Okay the tent is just a raincoat / dustcloth.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Soviets using cold war era tech were able to construct a massive concrete,lead and steel sarcophagus that completely covered the plant in about 7 months after the accident.

Its been 5 months since the reactors in Japan went critical and they are just now thinking about place a stupid plastic tent. Radiation can go through lead and concrete unless it is at least a few inches thick. They might as well cover the reactor with paper mache.

This entire situation is laughable. The Soviets built the sarcophagus in 7 months using technology from the 80s and a inefficient communist government while It took 5 months for Japan to even think about placing a tent on the site. Which they still havent placed yet.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It seems the people on this site only read the headlines and then post comments! It's quite irritating actually. I'm no supporter of Tepco but I think this is a good if temporary solution.

@vg866 Didn't you read in the article that they couldn't cover it before now because radiation levels were too high? That Soviet sarcophagus is now crumbling away and a new one has to be built! And don't forget the hundreds of thousands of people who were sent in their to liquidate it. They weren't volunteers. Their reward- 100 rubles, a certificate and a lovely dose of radiation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This entire situation is laughable. The Soviets built the sarcophagus in 7 months using technology from the 80s and a inefficient communist government while It took 5 months for Japan to even think about placing a tent on the site. Which they still havent placed yet.

Yeah, and the Soviets built it with slave labor, a huge amount of who DIED. What a model to follow!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yeah, and the Soviets built it with slave labor, a huge amount of who DIED. What a model to follow!

That was more than 25 years ago, I'm sure the technological marvel that is Japan could have done it sooner and with 100% less slave labor.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm sure the technological marvel that is Japan could have done it sooner and with 100% less slave labor.

Are you sure? So, you're an engineer? You know this site and the challenges? You know if it's even a good idea to try such a thing?

It's so easy to criticize when you know nothing about the situation!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Here comes the bill to cover the costs : Reactor halts push up thermal plant fuel costs

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/14_03.html

Excerpt: Tokyo Electric Power Company has increased operations of its thermal plants to cope with power shortages following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March. The company's fuel costs for the April to June period were over 5.2 billion dollars, marking a 28 percent year-on-year increase. Tohoku Electric Power Company, covering northeastern Japan, including disaster-hit areas, saw a fuel cost increase of nearly 60 percent. The company has halted all 3 reactors at its Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi Prefecture since the disaster.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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