Fukushima No. 1 plant’s treated water discharge policy known by only 40% in Japan

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tanks to contain water from which most radioactive materials have been removed are seen at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in February 2021.

At the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, contaminated water continues to be generated, a fact that about 60% of people in Japan are aware of, according to a government survey.

As for the government’s policy on discharging this water into the ocean after treating it, only around 40% know about it, the Reconstruction Agency survey released Tuesday showed.

The government will thus look to enhance ways to disseminate information.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.’s nuclear power plant had an accident after it was damaged in the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. Contaminated water continues to arise as groundwater and rainwater flow into the reactor buildings.

The government decided in April 2021 that treated water, from which most radioactive materials except tritium are removed, will be diluted with seawater and then released into the ocean, aiming to start as early as next spring 2023.

The survey was conducted online in January and February targeting residents of Japan, the United States, South Korea and seven other countries and regions.

In Japan, 61% of respondents answered that they were aware of the ongoing emergence of contaminated water, while 43% said they knew about the plan to release treated water into the ocean. Outside Japan, 31-83% of respondents said they were aware of the contaminated water, while 21-56% said they knew about the planned release of treated water.