Japan plans to discharge treated Fukushima water into the sea in spring or summer

Tokyo assures that the release will have levels of radioactivity that will not pose a risk to human health.

Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant

Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant. Photo: kawamoto takuo.




The Government of Japan announced Friday that the discharge into the sea of contaminated and treated water accumulating in the Fukushima nuclear power plant will take place between next spring and summer, despite the opposition of local fishermen.

The executive approved Friday a revised plan for the dumping, which also includes compensation for the fishing industry that could be affected by the measure, against which neighboring countries such as South Korea and China have also complained.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is monitoring the Japanese plan to dump the water once it is processed to remove most of the radioactive elements, and will send a mission to Japan next week (the fourth of its kind) to review preparations on the ground.

“Before proceeding with the dumping, we will wait for the IAEA to issue its general report, strengthen supervision functions, take measures to support the sale of products from the affected area and work against the spread of negative rumors,” said Executive spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno after the Cabinet meeting where the new plan was approved.

The discharge of water into the Pacific is expected to take place “once the work on the spill is completed” and “the investigation by the Japanese nuclear regulator, as well as the IAEA report,” according to the spokesman, who estimated that the specific date will be between spring and summer of this year.

This is water contaminated with radioactive waste after being used to cool reactors or leaked inside nuclear facilities, of which some 1.29 million cubic meters are stored in drums inside an atomic facility damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, where space is running out.

The Japanese authorities claim that the spill will have radioactivity levels below the World Health Organization’s ceiling for drinking water, and will therefore pose no risk to human health or the environment.

However, the plan still faces opposition from local fishing organizations, whose activities have barely recovered after the 2011 nuclear catastrophe, and who fear that the stigma attached to the area’s seafood will be worsened by the spill.

-Thailand News (TN)

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