Fukushima: Japanese government to release radioactive water into the sea

The Japanese government is ready to dump the contaminated water used to cool the plants damaged in the Fukushima nuclear disaster into the sea. The Japanese media anticipate this, explaining that a decision could be taken by the end of the month, despite the bitter debate on the controversies of this choice for the environment continues. Earlier this year a government subcommittee had judged the release of water into the ocean, or its evaporation into the atmosphere, as realistic options. Otherwise, local fishermen associations and residents have always expressed their disapproval, fearing a collapse in the demand for marine products in the region and the environmental repercussions on the entire geographical area.

According to sources cited by the Yomiuri newspaper, the Tokyo government ready to set up a committee of experts to confront the prefecture’s municipalities and discuss the plan with local production activities. Any release of radioactive water into the sea would require the approval of the National Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA), and the construction of adequate transport facilities, which would require at least two years of work. The water used to cool the plants is filtered using an advanced liquid treatment system (Alps), capable of extracting 62 of the 63 radioactive elements present, except for tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. According to the calculations of the plant manager, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) – with a daily increase of 170 tons of liquid treated, the storage space inside the tanks is expected to run out by the summer of 2022.

According to data from the prefecture there are currently 1,044tanks which contain 1.23 million tons of liquid. Last February, during a visit to the Fukushima power plant, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (Aiea), Rafael Grossi, admitted that the release of water into the Pacific Ocean would be in line with international standards of the nuclear industry. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, during a recent visit to the plant, said that the government intends to take a decision quickly. The accident of March 2011, triggered by the magnitude 9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, caused the nuclear fuel to overheat, followed by the melting of the core, accompanied by hydrogen explosions and subsequent radiation emissions.

October 16, 2020 (change October 16, 2020 | 05:56)

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