TEPCO: Generated Contaminated Water at Fukushima Reaches Target Level

The amount of the contaminated water generated in 2020 at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant decreased to about 140 tons per day on average, thereby reaching the government’s target level of 150 tons per day to meet the timeline for decommissioning the facility’s reactors, according to an announcement by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. on Thursday.

TEPCO also revised its prior estimate regarding the plant, which had an accident after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, and said the treated radioactive water — contaminated water that has had most of the radioactive materials removed — will reach its storage capacity in autumn 2022 or later.

In August 2019, the company estimated that the contaminated water tanks would be completely full by summer 2022. This was calculated by looking at the amount of contaminated water generated by the plant and the available area to accommodate the tanks. At the same time, the company demanded that the government take appropriate measures to solve the problem.

Since the amount of contaminated water generated by the plant has decreased, TEPCO has extended the time period before the tanks reach full capacity.

Contaminated water is generated as groundwater and rainwater is mixed with water used to cool the melted fuel. In fiscal 2015, about 490 tons of contaminated water was produced per day on average. In fiscal 2017, the amount was about 170 tons, and in fiscal 2018, it was about 180 tons.

TEPCO and other relevant bodies attribute reaching the target level to the repair work that was done on the roof of the plant’s nuclear reactor buildings to prevent rainwater from getting in, among other measures.

Another goal is to reduce the average daily amount of contaminated water generated at the facility to 100 tons or less by the end of 2025.