Japan to release Fukushima’s contaminated water into sea

Vastavam web: Nearly a decade after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan’s government has decided to release over one million tonnes of contaminated water into the sea, media reports said on Friday, with a formal announcement expected to be made 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 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. 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 contain traces of tritium into the ocean. In April, a team sent by the International Atomic Energy Agency to review contaminated water issues at the Fukushima site said the options for water disposal outlined by an advisory committee in Japan – vapour release and discharges to the sea – were both technically feasible. The IAEA said both options were used by operating nuclear plants.