Japan’s nuclear regulator approves discharge of treated water from Fukushima into the sea

Japanese nuclear regulators on Friday approved a plan to discharge treated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea, authorizing Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) to build discharge facilities.

TEPCO said it plans to dump the treated water at an onshore facility, where it will be diluted with seawater and then sent through an underwater tunnel with an exit 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) away. to minimize the impact on local fisheries.

The Nuclear Regulatory Authority approved the plan, but TEPCO would still need local consent before proceeding.

Japan’s foreign ministry said it would work to dilute treated water containing tritium “well below safety regulatory standards” and ensure “reliability and transparency in its handling”.

Nuclear regulators will carry out additional inspections of discharge facilities before TEPCO can start disposing of treated water, according to the ministry.

“Discharge of the treated water from the ALPS into the sea will only start after these measures have been duly taken,” he said in a statement. A declaration.

Japan had also asked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to assess the treatment of sewage to ensure it meets international safety standards, amid concerns from neighboring countries over the risks. health potentials associated with water discharge.

IAEA experts visited the plant earlier this year and said Japan was taking appropriate action for the expected release.

“The IAEA will continue to conduct its independent review throughout, including while these steps are being taken, and the Japanese government will carefully consider the findings and observations of the IAEA review,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. foreign.

The scientists said the impacts of long-term, low-dose exposure to tritium for the environment and humans are still unknown, but added that tritium could further affect humans when consumed in fish. .

A massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 destroyed the cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, causing a triple meltdown and releasing large amounts of radiation.

The water that was used to cool the three damaged reactor cores, which remain highly radioactive, has since seeped into the basements of the reactor buildings but has been collected and stored in tanks.

The contaminated water is stored in approximately 1,000 tanks at the damaged plant. TEPCO aims to remove the storage tanks and make way for the facilities needed to dismantle the plant. The tanks are expected to reach their capacity of 1.37 million tonnes next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Aldgra Fredly is a Malaysia-based freelance writer covering Asia-Pacific news for The Epoch Times.