Japan Nuclear Fukushima
FILE - Workers walk around a construction site for a planned shaft at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, run by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO), in Futaba town, northeastern Japan, on March 3, 2022. The construction of facilities needed for a planned release of treated radioactive wastewater into the sea next year from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant began Thursday, Aug. 4, despite opposition from the local fishing community. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae, File)
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Construction begins at Fukushima plant for water release

14 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

The construction of facilities needed for a planned release of treated radioactive wastewater into the sea next year from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant began Thursday despite opposition from the local fishing community.

Plant workers started construction of a pipeline to transport the wastewater from hillside storage tanks to a coastal facility before its planned release next year, according to the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings.

The digging of an undersea tunnel was also to begin later Thursday.

Construction at the Fukushima Daiichi plant follows the Nuclear Regulation Authority's formal approval last month of a detailed wastewater discharge plan that TEPCO submitted in December.

The government announced last year a decision to release the wastewater as a necessary step for the plant’s ongoing decommissioning.

A massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi plant’s cooling systems, causing triple meltdowns and the release of large amounts of radiation. Water that was used to cool the three damaged and highly radioactive reactor cores has since leaked into basements of the reactor buildings but was collected and stored in tanks.

TEPCO and government officials say the water will be further treated to levels far below releasable standards and that the environmental and health impacts will be negligible. Of more than 60 isotopes selected for treatment, all but one — tritium — will be reduced to meet safety standards, they say.

Local fishing communities and neighboring countries have raised concerns about potential health hazards from the radioactive wastewater and the reputation damage to local produce, and oppose the release.

Scientists say the impact of long-term, low-dose exposure to not only tritium but also other isotopes on the environment and humans are still unknown and that a release is premature.

The contaminated water is being stored in about 1,000 tanks that require much space in the plant complex. Officials say they must be removed so that facilities can be built for its decommissioning. The tanks are expected to reach their capacity of 1.37 million tons in autumn of 2023.

TEPCO said it plans to transport treated and releasable water through a pipeline from the tanks to a coastal pool, where it will be diluted with seawater and then sent through an undersea tunnel with an outlet about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) away to minimize the impact on local fishing and the environment.

TEPCO and the government have obtained approval from the heads of the plant’s host towns, Futaba and Okuma, for the construction, but local residents and the fishing community remain opposed and could still delay the process. The current plan calls for a gradual release of treated water to begin next spring in a process that will take decades.

On Wednesday, Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori and the two mayors visited Tokyo and asked Economy and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda to ensure safety and prevent further damage to the reputation of Fukushima fishing products.

Akira Ono, TEPCO chief decommissioning officer at the plant, promised the highest efforts to ensure safety and understanding.

“We are aware of various views on reputational impact and safety concerns (of the release) and we'll keep explaining throughly to stakeholders,” he said.

TEPCO said Wednesday that weather and sea conditions could delay a completion of the facility until summer 2023.

Japan has sought help from the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure the water release meets international safety standards and reassure local fishing and other communities and neighboring countries, including China and South Korea, that have opposed the plan.

IAEA experts who visited the plant earlier this year said Japan was taking appropriate steps for the planned discharge.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

14 Comments
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an undersea tunnel with an outlet about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) away to minimize the impact on local fishing and the environment

You say it is totally safe but yet you still release it far out to sea?

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Scientists say the impact of long-term, low-dose exposure to not only tritium but also other isotopes on the environment and humans are still unknown and that a release is premature

This paragraph clearly explains the lunacy of releasing this water. What are they going to do if/when this water irradiates the whole east coast and destroys the fishing and tourism industries? Furthermore, what will they do if/when the millions of people who live, work and eat seafood from the east coast start to develop cancers at an unprecedented rate? A deep bow and an apology is just not gonna cut it! There are alternatives. This is just madness!

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Quasi-approval from the IAEA, good enough for TEPCO and the J-Gov, but still have to explain safety to stakeholders, i.e. people. Science is not necessary, just understanding.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

So failing for 11 years isn't enough.

They're going ahead with the "just flush it" strategy, like we always knew they would once the Olympics were out of the way.

But of course, the concrete-construction boys want their slice before the problem gets cheaper.

No matter how big the problem, there's always one more layer of kickbacks to pass around under the table.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Lindsay Today 05:13 pm JST

There are alternatives.

Namely?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Taki Mata - There are alternatives. - Namely?

There are hundreds of square kilometers around the plant and above sea level that can never be lived on again. The water can be permanently stored there in tanks that last longer than five years. Tritium has a half-life of 30-40 years the water can be stored until it loses its radioactivity and then released into the sea

It is also possible to remove tritium from water but TEPCO and the J-Gov are ignoring it because it is expensive.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Lindsay Today 06:33 pm JST

There are hundreds of square kilometers around the plant and above sea level that can never be lived on again.

That is quite a claim.

Tritium has a half-life of 30-40 years

12.3 years, to be exact. (Or 10 days in a human organism.)

the water can be stored until it loses its radioactivity

The fact that lack of storage space is the very reason they are releasing it now.

Also, it can never be "zero", it can not "lose its radioactivity", it will always have to be a question of what is an "acceptable level".

Back of the envelope: At a half life of 12.3 years, if you store it and wait for fifty years, it will be down to 6% of its original radioactivity level. Or, to get the same effect immediately, you could just mix one part of tritated water with roughly 16 parts of sea water. See where this is going?

It is also possible to remove tritium from water

No, sorry, it is not, at least not outside of experimental drip feeding lab experiments.

But it's also not necessary to completely remove it, tritium is naturally occuring.

The problem with all of that is very different: Misinformation, misrepresentation of facts, panic porn, and people screaming about cancer and mutated crabs, those will hurt the people in Fukushima.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Taki, people are not want to sign up for Tepco suicide pact

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Appalling behaviour.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

No good news here!

JGOV and their lackeys too cheap to pay for safer disposal. ! Very disappointing!

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Japan inc is broke.

Sadly they had to take the cheapest option while ensuring some construction company leeches some tax dollars on the building project.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Only thing will stop this is public reprimand by Biden too the Prime Minister of Japan,

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

The water contains ‘radioactive particles’ which are being released into the environment -not ‘just’ water!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

kurisupisuToday 06:06 am JST

The water contains ‘radioactive particles’

All water contains "radioactive particles", even drinking water. It is not the presence of radionucleides, it is the amount that makes the difference.

which are being released into the environment

And that's why you, me or anyone is even talking about it: It needs to be released in a controlled manner so it doesn't create any impact.

By the way, the waste water to be released will be less radioactive than what the power plant has been releasing into the environment while in regular operation ... since 1971.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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