Regulators agree on Fukushima radioactive water release

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A dredging vessel arrives off the coast of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, in early May in preparation for the offshore discharge of treated water from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The ship will conduct excavation work for an undersea tunnel.

TOKYO(Jiji Press) — Japanese regulators on Wednesday agreed on Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s plan to release treated radioactive water into the ocean from a disaster-crippled nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority will officially approve the water release plan after a public comment period.

The treated water, which contains radioactive tritium, will be released into the ocean from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant that suffered a triple meltdown following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Once the plan is approved, TEPCO will start the construction of an undersea tunnel and other facilities necessary for the water release, after obtaining municipal approval. The company plans to finish the work by the spring of 2023.

It is necessary, however, for TEPCO to gain understanding from local fishermen, who are persistently concerned about possible reputational damage on local seafood, before actually releasing the water.

TEPCO applied for NRA approval of the water release plan in December. Under the plan, the treated water will be diluted with seawater so that the amount of tritium contained will be smaller than one-40th of state-set standards.

The diluted water will then travel through the undersea tunnel and be dumped into the ocean about 1 kilometer off the coast.

TEPCO has said the radioactive impact from the water release will be much lower than safety standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

At the Fukushima plant, 130 tons of contaminated water is created each day. Tanks keeping the treated water are expected to reach full capacity around summer and autumn next year, according to TEPCO.