Fukushima Water Release Facilities Shown to Press; TEPCO Staff Monitor Process 24 Hours a Day

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A TEPCO official explains about a facility to draw in seawater at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on Sunday.

FUKUSHIMA — Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. has showed to the press facilities for releasing treated water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, including pumps to draw in seawater to dilute the treated water.

In the central control room of the facilities on Sunday, TEPCO said its employees observe and confirm the process 24 hours a day.

Many people in Japan and abroad are paying close attention to the release of the treated water. By opening its facilities to the press, TEPCO aimed to show that the water release was being conducted in accordance with strict procedures to assure safety.

The water release facilities are located along the coastal area in front of reactors Nos. 5 and 6 of the nuclear power plant. Loud sounds could be heard from the motors of two pumps for drawing in seawater.

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Pumps draw in seawater to dilute treated water.

The treated water contains tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, so TEPCO releases the treated water after diluting it with a large amount of seawater. Adding seawater is essential for safety, so it is also vital to confirm whether a sufficient amount has been used.

Meters to measure the amount of water flow are attached to pipes on the pumps. TEPCO staff confirm data from the meters 24 hours a day in a monitoring room on the second floor of the main earthquake-resistant building of the plant.

Data is displayed on four monitor screens, including information on seawater, the flow of treated water and estimated densities of tritium.

If abnormalities are detected, the discharge of treated water is immediately stopped.

TEPCO always has nine staff members in the room. Inspections are conducted once a day to check the data from meters attached to the facilities and equipment.

Weather conditions have been good since the release of the treated water began on Thursday, and the release of the water has progressed smoothly.

However, Japan will soon enter a season of frequent typhoons. The release of treated water may need to be suspended for such reasons as the pumps becoming unable to draw in seawater as scheduled due to bad weather.

“We’ll continue to follow procedures and perform such duties as operating the facilities, and observing and confirming current conditions,” a TEPCO official said.

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Pipes for transporting seawater