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Japan to dump contaminated water from Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea

Local media reported that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga plans to announce the decision next Tuesday. The water intended to be released has been filtered several times to remove most of its radioactive substances, but not the tritium, which cannot be removed with current techniques.

Japan decided to dispose of massive amounts of treated but still radioactive water stored in tanks at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, local media reported, despite strong local opposition to this project. The government of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga plans to announce the measure next Tuesday, according to the Jiji agency and the NHK public television network.

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This decision would put an end to seven years of debate on how to dispose of the water from rain, groundwater or injections necessary to cool the cores of nuclear reactors that melted after the tsunami of March 11, 2011. From According to the AP, a government panel prepared a report two years ago saying releasing into the sea is the most realistic method. This document mentioned evaporation as a less desirable option.

The water intended to be released in this operation, which would take several years, has been filtered on several occasions to remove most of its radioactive substances (radionuclides), but not the tritium, which cannot be removed with current techniques. It will be diluted to meet international standards, NHK said. According to experts, tritium is only dangerous for human health in very high doses. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also advocates the option of dilution at sea.

Some scientists say the long-term impact on marine life from low-dose exposure to such large volumes of water is unknown, the AP reported.

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This information was released when Suga met with Hiroshi Kishi, a leader of the Japan Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives, on Wednesday. At the end of the meeting, Kishi quoted Suga: “Disposal of ALPS-treated water is inevitable and experts have recommended that release to the sea is the most realistic method that can be implemented,” reported the Japan Times on April 7. . ALPS refers to the process used to treat the water in the plant.

Kishi added that fishermen across the country strongly oppose the plan, saying that if the government ultimately makes the decision to send the treated water to the ocean, steps must be taken to “address the damage to the reputation of the industry.”

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Currently, about 1.25 million tons of contaminated water is stored in more than 1,000 tanks near the nuclear power plant that damaged ten years ago in northeast Japan. A decision is all the more urgent since the limits of on-site water storage capacity could be reached as early as autumn 2022. The Suga administration promised to make a formal decision as soon as possible, as it would take two years. preparation before she can be released, reported the Japan Times.

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