Sunday, 22 September, 2019

Radioactive water from Fukushima could be dumped into ocean

Fukushima sea waste Officials say it’s the only option
Sandra Phillips | 11 September, 2019, 04:08

The far-reaching dangers of nuclear power were on full display Tuesday as Japan's environmental minister recommended releasing more than one million tons of radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi plant into the Pacific Ocean almost a decade after a tsunami caused a meltdown at the coastal facility.

Other options now on the table include simply building more storage for TEPCO or vaporizing it, with TEPCO carrying out whatever strategy the Japanese government directs them to.

To cool fuel cores at the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant, operator Tokyo Electrical has pumped in tens of hundreds of tons of water in excess of the many years, in accordance to Japanese national broadcaster NHK.

A final government decision on disposal of the tainted water is pending a report from an expert panel.

Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada announced in a televised press conference that the only solution for the waste was to "release it into the ocean and dilute it".

Two employees of the operating company Tepco stand in front of huge tanks in which irradiated water from the continuous cooling of the damaged Fukushima reactors is stored, 31-01-2019.

The utility says it will run out of space by 2022. It hasn't been revealed how much water would need to be dumped into the ocean.

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In a separate news briefing, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga was quick to specify that Harada's comments about dumping the Fukushima water into the Pacific was "his personal opinion".

Water that contains tritium is often dumped into the ocean by coastal nuclear plants.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says it received electricity from other utilities on Tuesday as demand for power jumped amid scorching weather.

"We're just hoping to hear more details of the discussions that are under way in Tokyo so that there won't be a surprise announcement", a South Korean diplomat told Reuters, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of bilateral ties.

However, TEPCO past year admitted that its tanks contained water that the water in its tanks contains other radioactive contaminants besides tritium.

The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that it had asked Japan "to take a wise and prudent decision on the issue".

Greenpeace, which has long called on the Japanese government to invest in technology to remove radioactivity from the water, said the environmental minister's proposal is unacceptable.

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