On Tuesday, the Japanese government decided to start releasing radioactive water that has been treated from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, deliberated in the last two years. Many oppose the tainted water release into the Pacific Ocean, especially fishermen and residents near the area.
Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster
The choice was reached at a gathering of Cabinet ministers, who endorsed the nuclear power plant's ocean release as the best option. The decision was already long-expected but had been put off for years due to safety issues and protests, reported the Epoch Times.
Since 2011, when a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated the Fukushima Daiichi plant's reactors, and their cooling water became polluted and began leaking, the collecting water has been kept in tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi plant for years.
The operator of the nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co, the storage of water used to cool the reactors will be at its limit by next year.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga stated that releasing the water into the ocean is the "most practical" choice, and it cannot be avoided for the Fukushima plant's decommissioning, which is expected to take decades.
TEPCO and government officials state that while tritium is not dangerous in small doses, it cannot be eliminated from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant water. All other isotopes can be reduced to acceptable levels before release. Low-dose exposure to such large bodies of water, according to some scientists, has unexplained profound effects on aquatic life.
According to the basic plan adopted by the ministers, TEPCO will begin releasing the water in about two years after building a facility that meets the regulator authority's safety criteria. It stated that the water disposal could not be delayed any longer and that it is essential to develop the plant's environment to live safely there.
The limit for the water storage capacity is up to 1.37 million tons, that be full by the fall of 2022. Another problem that needs to be dealt with is where the water storage is, will be replaced with new facilities to house melted reactor debris. It will be the next step to follow in years to follow.
In the decade since the tsunami disaster, water cooling the nuclear material escaped from the damaged primary containment vessels into the reactor buildings' basements. More water is pumped into the reactors to cool the melted fuel. Water is also pumped out and treated, part of which is recycled as cooling water, and the remainder stored in 1,020 tanks.
A government panel discussed how to get rid of the water without further harming Fukushima's reputation, fisheries, and other businesses. After seven years it had been decided to release the water into the ocean as the most practical option. Evaporation was listed as a less desirable choice in the report it produced last year.
According to a preliminary estimate, the gradual release of water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant will take about 30 years but will be completed before the plant is completely decommissioned.