Japan to release treated water from crippled Fukushima plant into sea

Japan decides to release Fukushima contaminated water into sea - reports

Japan's government has chose to release radioactive water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, with a formal announcement expected to be made within this month, Kyodo news agency and other media reported on Friday.

According to Japanes media, the Japanese government will make formal announcement this month.

The water is used to cool the Fukushima nuclear reactor core, which went into meltdown after the catastrophic 2011 natural disaster and tsunami that struck the plant.

TEPCO acknowledges that the full clean-up operation may not be complete until 40 years after the disaster.

Tepco subsequently admitted that levels of strontium 90 were more than 100 times above legally permitted levels in almost 60,000 tonnes of water that had already been treated and were 20,000 times above safety levels set by the government in several storage tanks at the site.

Japan's Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said no decision had been made but the government planned to take one quickly.

Last year, a Japanese government agency proposed releasing radioactive water from the stricken nuclear plant into the environment, as storage space runs out. To avoid delays in decommissioning, we need to make a decision quickly, "he said at a press conference".

Before being dumped into the ocean, the stored water would be processed a second time and diluted with seawater to lower levels of radioactive materials below legally established standards.

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The official said as far as he knows, Japan has yet to decide on how to dispose of the contaminated water. "We absolutely oppose to the release of the water".

The release of the water, which has been filtered to reduce radioactivity, is likely to start in 2022 at the earliest, said national dailies the Nikkei, the Yomiuri, and other local media.

The fishing industry urged the government not to allow the release of water into the ocean.

In 2018, Tokyo Electric apologized after admitting its filtration systems had not removed all unsafe material from the water, collected from the cooling pipes used to keep fuel cores from melting when the plant was crippled. The meltdown was the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

The treated water contains tritium, a form of hydrogen that has two extra neutrons, making it weakly radioactive.

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The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a report in April that it is ready to work with Japan "to develop a framework to provide radiation safety assistance before, during and after the disposition" once a decision on how to proceed has been made.

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