Japan to release contaminated Fukushima water into sea
Published : Tuesday, 13 April, 2021 at 12:07 PM Count : 312
Japan will release more than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear station into the sea, the government said on Tuesday, a move opposed by neighbours including South Korea and its own fishing industry.
The first release of water will take place in about two years, giving plant operator Tokyo Electric Power time to begin filtering the water to remove harmful isotopes, build infrastructure and acquire regulatory approval.
Japan has argued the water release is necessary to press ahead with the complex decommissioning of the plant after it was crippled by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami, pointing out that similarly filtered water is routinely released from nuclear plants around the world.
Nearly 1.3 million tonnes of contaminated water, or enough to fill about 500 Olympic-sized swimming pools, is stored in huge tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi plant at an annual cost of about 100 billion yen ($912.66 million) - and space is running out.
“On the premise of strict compliance with regulatory standards that have been established, we select oceanic release,” the government said in a statement, adding the project would take decades to complete.
The decision comes about three months ahead of the postponed Olympic Games to be hosted by Tokyo, with some events planned as close as 60 km (35 miles) from the wrecked plant. Former Japanese Minister Shinzo Abe in 2013 assured the International Olympics Committee in pitching for the games that Fukushima “will never do any damage to Tokyo.”