MSU alum instrumental in Fukushima cleanup

Oct 15, 2014

Joe Sopko is working on a project to freeze the area around the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. His company, Mortrench, hopes to contain water contaminated with nuclear material.
Credit Courtesy - MSU College of Engineering

In March of 2011, an earthquake and tsunami in Japan resulted in a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. Three of the plants six reactors melted down, and substantial amounts of radioactive material was released. That includes contaminated water that escaped from the three units. Containing that water has proven to be an ongoing problem confronting those who are working to clean up Fukushima.

A  Michigan State University grad works with a company that is going to try to contain contaminated water with an old technology that has never before been employed at a nuclear site.

Current State’s Scott Pohl talks with Joe Sopko, who holds three engineering degrees from MSU, including a doctorate. He’s director of ground freezing operations with a New Jersey company called Moretrench. His company has been hired to design a system to contain contaminated water at Fukushima by freezing the ground around the site.