Fukushima water to be treated and dumped into sea. ABC

As expected, Japan has announced that it will use its capabilities to treat the contaminated stored at Fukushima and then dump into the sea.

The Australian ABC reports:


Radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant to be dumped into Pacific
By North Asia correspondent Mark Willacy, wires

The head of Japan’s nuclear watchdog has flagged dumping radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific, but says the level of contamination in the water would be well within legal limits.

Speaking to foreign reporters in Tokyo, the head of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, Shinichi Tanaka, said there may be no choice but to pump radioactive water from Fukushima into the sea.

“I’m afraid that it is unavoidable to dump or release the water into the sea,” he said.

But Mr Tanaka says most of the contamination would be removed first, meaning the radiation level in the water would be well below the legal limit.

There is more than 300,000 tonnes of contaminated water being stored at the Fukushima plant, with hundreds of tonnes being added to that every day.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has long struggled to deal with the massive amounts of water used to cool reactors that went into meltdown after being struck by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

Neighbouring countries and local fishermen have expressed concern at the mooted release from the plant, where contaminated water was already believed to have escaped into sea.

Mr Tanaka says he would try to gain the international community’s understanding before dumping any treated water into the Pacific.

“The situation at Fukushima is changing everyday,” Mr Tanaka said.

“Fukushima Daiichi has various risks. The accident has yet to be settled down.”

The clean-up at the plant has been hit by a series of mishaps that have cast doubt on the utility’s ability to contain the world’s worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

On Sunday the company said it had found highly radioactive water dripping from a pipe connecting two coolant tanks at one of four radiation hotspots.

Denouncing the firm’s “careless management” of contaminated water, Mr Tanaka said: “We need to give them very strict instructions.”

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