Japanese govt to release Fukushima contaminated water into sea: Local media
TOKYO (JAPAN) – The Japanese government has decided to release over one million tonnes of contaminated water into the sea a decade after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, said media reports on Friday. There will be a formal announcement later this month.
The decision is expected to rankle neighbouring countries like South Korea, which has already stepped up radiation tests of food from Japan, and further devastate the fishing industry in Fukushima that has battled against such a move for years.
The disposal of contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi plant has been a longstanding problem for Japan as it proceeds with a decades-long decommissioning project. Nearly 1.2 million tonnes of contaminated water is currently stored in huge tanks at the facility.
The plant, run by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc, suffered multiple nuclear meltdowns after a 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
On Friday, Japan’s industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said no decision had been made on the disposal of the water yet, but the government aims to make one quickly.
“To prevent any delays in the decommissioning process, we need to make a decision quickly,” he told a news conference.
He did not give any further details, including a time-frame.
The Asahi newspaper reported that any such release is expected to take at around two years to prepare, as the site’s irradiated water first needs to pass through a filtration process before it can be further diluted with seawater and finally released into the ocean.
In 2018, Tokyo Electric apologised after admitting its filtration systems had not removed all dangerous material from the water, collected from the cooling pipes used to keep fuel cores from melting when the plant was crippled.
It has said it plans to remove all radioactive particles from the water except tritium, an isotope of hydrogen that is hard to separate and is considered to be relatively harmless.
It is common practice for nuclear plants around the world to release water that contains traces of tritium into the ocean.