Fukushima water release: Japan begins releasing third batch of treated waste water from stricken nuclear plant

The tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant began its third release of treated and diluted radioactive waste water into the sea on Thursday after Japanese officials said the two earlier releases ended smoothly.

The plant operator discharged 7,800 tons of treated water in each of the first two batches and plans to release the same amount in the current batch through November 20.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (Tepco) said its workers activated the first of the two pumps to dilute the treated water with large amounts of seawater, gradually sending the mixture into the Pacific Ocean through an undersea tunnel for an offshore release.


What is tritium? The radioactive element that caused controversy during the Fukushima water release

What is tritium? The radioactive element that caused controversy during the Fukushima water release

The plant began the first waste water release in August and will continue to do so for decades. About 1.34 million tons of radioactive waste water is stored in about 1,000 tanks at the plant. It has accumulated since the plant was crippled by the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan in 2011.

Tepco and the government say discharging the water into the sea is unavoidable because the tanks are nearly full and the plant needs to be decommissioned.

The waste water discharges have been strongly opposed by fishing groups and neighbouring countries including South Korea, where hundreds of people staged protests. China immediately banned all imports of Japanese seafood, badly hurting Japanese seafood producers and exporters.

What to know about Japan’s plan to release Fukushima waste water into the sea

The Chinese ban has particularly harmed scallop fishermen in the northern Hokkaido region, some 500 kilometres (300 miles) north of the Fukushima plant, who rely on Chinese factories for shelling the molluscs.

Japan’s government has set up a relief fund to help find new markets and reduce the impact of China’s seafood ban, while the central and local governments have led a campaign to eat fish and support Fukushima, now joined by many consumers.

The water is treated to remove as much radioactivity as possible then greatly diluted with seawater before it is released.

Tepco and the government say the process is safe, but some scientists say the continuing release is unprecedented and should be monitored closely.

So far, results of marine samplings by Tepco and the government have detected tritium, which they say is inseparable by existing technology, at levels far smaller than the World Health Organization’s standard for drinking water.
In a recent setback, two plant workers were splashed with radioactive waste while cleaning piping at the water treatment facility and were hospitalised for exposure.
Bottles containing samples of treated radioactive water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Photo: Handout/EPA-EFE

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has concluded that if the release is carried out as planned, it would have a negligible impact on the environment, marine life and human health. IAEA mission officials said last month they were reassured by the smooth operation so far.

Experts from the IAEA and other agencies, including those from China, have surveyed the environmental impact of the release, including by taking water and fish samples.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button