Published: Sun, October 18, 2020
Science | By

Japan 'to dump' Fukushima water in sea

Japan 'to dump' Fukushima water in sea

Japan is to release treated radioactive water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, media reports say.

The plant, run by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc (T:), suffered multiple nuclear meltdowns after a 2011 natural disaster and tsunami.

The government's decision about the disposal of the water, which could come this month, is expected to speed the decommissioning work.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, properly treated water could be diluted with seawater and then safely before releasing into the sea.

TEPCO acknowledges that the full clean-up operation may not be complete until 40 years after the disaster.

"With the foremost priority placed on the protection of our citizens' health and safety, the government will continue to pay keen attention to Japan's activities related to the disposal of the contaminated water and will seek to craft measures in cooperation with the worldwide community", it added.

Around 1.23million tonnes of waste water are stored in tanks at the power station, including water that was used to cool the power station. Photo by William Daniels/The New York TimesIn this January 25, 2018, file photo, an installation of a dome-shaped rooftop cover housing key equipment is near completion at Unit 3 reactor of the Fukushima Dai-ich nuclear power plant ahead of a fuel removal from its storage pool in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeast Japan.

Early this year, a panel of experts advising Japan's government on the disposal of radioactive water from the plant, recommended releasing it into the ocean.


Since April, the government has conducted seven hearings involving local government officials, farming and fisheries organizations and business groups on the issue.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in September said, "The government would like to take the responsibility and decide on the direction [of what to do with the treated water] as quickly as possible".

Tepco initially claimed that the only significant contaminant in the water is tritium, which the company describes as "safe" because it is prevalent in daily life and does not build up in the body. "We absolutely oppose to the release of the water". JF Zengyoren President Kishi Hiroshi met with Japanese Finance Minister Kajiyama Hiroshi to reiterate this opposition to the plan on October 15.

Most of the radioactive isotopes have been removed using a complex filtration process.

It is common practice for nuclear plants around the world to release water that contain traces of tritium into the ocean.

During the series of hearings, officials pointed out that the government's compensation policy for dealing with negative publicity was insufficient and also indicated the need to properly transmit information to gain the understanding of people both in Japan and overseas.

The official said the government will place top priority on safeguarding South Korean people's health and safety and continue to closely monitor Tokyo's activities and take measures based on cooperation with the worldwide community.

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