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NRA Approves TEPCO Plan to Monitor Water Release

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. headquarters in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority on Wednesday effectively approved a Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. plan to monitor treated radioactive water to be released from its disaster-stricken nuclear plant into the ocean.

The approval of the plan, which includes standards for the amounts of radioactive materials contained in the water, is expected to become final after a public comment period.

TEPCO is set to discharge water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima, the site of a triple meltdown in March 2011.

At the plant, contaminated water keeps increasing, as TEPCO continues cooling molten nuclear fuel with water while groundwater flows into reactor buildings damaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The contaminated water is processed through purification equipment to remove 62 types of radioactive materials. However, the equipment cannot remove tritium, which has similar chemical properties to water.

The treated water is stored in tanks at the power plant. The water will be released into the ocean after being diluted.

Under the plan, TEPCO will measure the concentration levels of 29 types of radioactive substances in the water before releasing it into the ocean. The substances include cesium-137 and plutonium-239 but do not include those with short half-life periods.