Japan to Step up Monitoring of Treated Water from Nuclear Plant

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Reconstruction minister Hiromichi Watanabe, right, receives an explanation of the status of an interim storage facility from an official of the Environment Ministry in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, in June.

The government plans to do its utmost to prevent harmful rumors about treated water containing tritium by stepping up monitoring efforts, such as measuring the level of the radioactive substance tritium found in seafood, and promptly announcing the results.

Last year, the amount of fish landed by the coastal fishing industry and marine aquaculture in Fukushima Prefecture reached 5,604 tons, the highest level since 2011, but it was still only just over 20% of the level before the nuclear accident.

The Fisheries Agency has been collecting fish and shellfish, including flatfish, at two locations 4 to 5 kilometers offshore from the port where the treated water will be discharged to measure the concentration of tritium in the fish.

The first results of the post-discharge analysis should come in as early as Saturday evening.

The agency plans to collect and examine two fish per day for the first month after the release of treated water begins, and to publish the results in both Japanese and English.

The Environment Ministry will conduct weekly measurements to analyze the concentration of tritium and other radioactive materials in seawater at 11 locations in the sea area around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The ministry plans to release the results of the first measurement within a few days of the start of the discharge.

“We will actively promote the attractiveness of the region, such as the marine products of Sanriku Joban, both at home and abroad, along with the safety of the treated water,” reconstruction minister Hiromichi Watanabe said at a press conference Tuesday, following the government’s decision on the date to start releasing the treated water.