Water from the Fukushima plant has been filtered to reduce radioactivity Photo: POOL/AFP/File
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Japan to release treated Fukushima water into sea, media report

51 Comments
By Hitoshi Katanoda

Japan will release more than a million tons of treated water from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea in a decades-long operation, reports said Friday, despite strong opposition from local fishermen.

The release of the water, which has been filtered to reduce radioactivity, is likely to start in 2022 at the earliest, said national dailies the Nikkei, the Yomiuri, and other local media.

The decision ends years of debate over how to dispose of the liquid that includes water used to cool the power station hit by a massive tsunami in 2011.

A government panel said earlier this year that releasing the water into the sea or evaporating it were both "realistic options".

As of last month, there were 1.23 million tons of waste water at the facility, the Nikkei reported.

Environmental activists have expressed strong opposition to the proposals, and fishermen and farmers have voiced fear that consumers will shun seafood and produce from the region.

South Korea, which bans imports of seafood from the area, has also repeatedly voiced concern about the environmental impact.

Japan's government has been deliberating the issue for more than three years, but a decision is becoming urgent as space to store the water -- which also includes groundwater and rain that seeps daily into the plant -- is running out.

Most of the radioactive isotopes have been removed by an extensive filtration process -- but one remains, called tritium, which cannot be removed with existing technology.

The expert panel advised in January that discarding the water into the sea was a viable option because the method is also used at normal nuclear reactors.

Tritium is only harmful to humans in very large doses, experts say. The International Atomic Energy Agency argues that properly filtered water could be diluted with seawater and then safely released into the ocean.

The Yomiuri reported that the water would be diluted inside the facility before its release so it is 40 times less concentrated, with the whole process taking 30 years.

The treated water is currently kept in a thousand huge tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi site, where reactors went into meltdown nearly a decade ago after the earthquake-triggered tsunami.

Plant operator TEPCO is building more tanks, but all will be full by mid-2022.

© 2020 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

51 Comments
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Just keep it there.

I agree, keep as much of it as possible until such time tritium could be removed.

But space is running out as they've said, so they have still have to dispose of some filtered water to make room for more.

Why not use the other option also, evaporating the water? Needs too much energy, I guess

10 ( +15 / -5 )

This is unbelievable!!! Where is the calculation that prove it can work? Why can't vaporise it and use particle filter?

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

Cheers TEPCO bigwigs........hope you are enjoying your ill-gotten huge golden parachute payments.

I wonder if they even feel an ounce of guilt.

We knew this was going to happen all along though.

15 ( +25 / -10 )

For Japanese media and fellow citizens.

Knock knock Hello? Anybody home?

Don't you guys care about this?

Jp gov shut you up about COVID 19 and THIS POISON IN THE SEA as well.

Do you even remember?

You're controlled. Brainwashed.

15 ( +27 / -12 )

I'm willing to bet that there are lots of idle land nearby that are neither commercial-friendly or arable that can be used to store this water until it takes for the nuclear material to breakdown naturally or until science finds a way to neutralize them safely. it's the company's responsibility for this and let them continue to shoulder it, the residents and nature have already paid the price. I wish that this may receive international attention and pressure them to stop the move, it's probably the only way of discouraging someone from doing something stupid aside from legal or armed action.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

"You're controlled. Brainwashed."

Yet, you are living in Japan. LOL

0 ( +16 / -16 )

"South Korea, which bans imports of seafood from the area, has also repeatedly voiced concern about the environmental impact."

Maybe, South Korea and all of the other countries who are complaining will allow Japan to build water tanks in their country. I wonder what they will say. By the way, other countries do exactly the same thing.

-7 ( +11 / -18 )

All nuclear power plants release treated water into the sea. Given Tepco's long history of lying, corruption and astonishing incompetence though, I wouldn't believe them if they told me it was raining outside.

12 ( +23 / -11 )

Maybe it's just me, but if the water is safe to release into the ocean, why is the guy in the picture dressed up like he is?

10 ( +19 / -9 )

The expert panel ... viable option

What I learned during COVID is that "expert panel" must be a euphemism for rubber-stamping. It's just a way to reflect responsibility from the real decision maker.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Japan's government has been deliberating the issue for more than three years, but a decision is becoming urgent as space to store the water -- which also includes groundwater and rain that seeps daily into the plant -- is running out.

They have been deliberating over this for nearly ten years and have just kept putting it off until they have no other choice than to dump it in the ocean. This was their plan all along.

Most of the radioactive isotopes have been removed by an extensive filtration process -- but one remains, called tritium, which cannot be removed with existing technology.

This is a straight up lie! TEPCO themselves have admitted the water has not been properly filtered and contains more isotopes than just tritium. Furthermore, tritium has been successfully removed from water by quite a few different groups of scientists.

This is the part where Fukushima becomes the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The release of the water, which has been filtered to reduce radioactivity,...

Most of the radioactive isotopes have been removed by an extensive filtration process -- but one remains, called tritium, which cannot be removed with existing technology.

filtered and most probably 1000X diluted who knows...

A government panel said earlier this year that releasing the water into the sea or evaporating it were both "realistic options".

NAH!!! "option A" to hide all those incapability.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I have no problem with them doing this; as long as the water is first tested by a team of reputable, global scientists.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

The treated tritium water was found to have other dangerous elements, like strontium, in addition to tritium. Nothing has changed.

In addition, the radioactivity that caused the water to require storage is still making more water radioactive, so this will not be a one time thing.

Time has passed. No new plans have been made. Maybe people will forget these facts.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It's reasonable. Considering the timetable and procedure for plant dismantling, it is also the most viable solution.

South Korea, which bans imports of seafood from the area, has also repeatedly voiced concern about the environmental impact

The import ban does not stem from science but from chauvinist politics and anti-Japanese propaganda.

Nuclear power plants in SK have also been discharging the (diluted) water into seas nearby (To say fairly, it is within the regulatory safety limits and the resulting doses were much less than the dose limits, according to a scientific study).

Radioactive effluents released from Korean nuclear power plants and the resulting radiation doses to members of the public

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S173857331730253X

2 ( +7 / -5 )

There are lots of articles mentioning the fact that more than tritium is in the water. Here is one: https://nuclear-news.net/2018/09/29/fukushimas-stored-water-still-contains-radioactive-iodine-cesium-and-strontium-as-well-as-tritium/

5 ( +6 / -1 )

For general interest, can we see oceanographic maps of where this water will flow to? The currents and movements?

How long will it take for it to contaminate ALL the seas and oceans on Earth?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Can't get the blame for fishing the oceans empty if you kill all the fish with poison first. Big brain time.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It would be good of they could capture the tritium, it could be used for much cleaner nuclear generation than uranium.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why not take out a few hundred k’s and real ease it. It won’t hurt no one.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Not sure how putting radioactive water into the atmosphere as vapor is any better than putting radioactive water into the ocean.

On the other hand, there may be a limit to how much radioactive water can be stored in tanks, which is another reason to rethink nuclear energy. It might be time to look toward developing green energy, as soon as possible. Why not tap into Japan's vast potential for geothermal energy? Japan sits on top of the "ring of fire," so might as well make the best of a dangerous situation.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Nihonview: "Maybe, South Korea and all of the other countries who are complaining will allow Japan to build water tanks in their country. I wonder what they will say. By the way, other countries do exactly the same thing."

Name the countries that do the same. Only 'meltdown' other than Chernobyl and a partial at Three Mile Island: Fukushima is unique and close by one of the world's largest, most populated urban area.

In all of history, only two events have been designated "level 7" nuclear accidents, the classification used by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to refer to major events with widespread health and environmental effects. 

The first, Chernobyl, is often referred to as the world's worst nuclear accident. The second, Fukushima, has been described by some scientists as even more destructive.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Why not tap into Japan's vast potential for geothermal energy? Japan sits on top of the "ring of fire," so might as well make the best of a dangerous situation.

The problem with that is that most of the places most suitable for developing geothermal energy are already onsen resorts. Any efforts to develop this type of energy generally meet with large opposition from the tourist industry in these areas.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Great news. Common sense prevails at last. This was ALWAYS the only solution. They have done a really bad job of educating people on what this water actually is and how “dangerous” it isn’t.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

I also do not believe everything that Tepco tells us. I would want an independent body to monitor this. As starters, other than Tepco saying so, how do we know that the only radioactive material being stored is tritium? Does anyone know if this has been tested / verified other than by Tepco or their “experts”?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

They have done a really bad job of educating people on what this water actually is and how “dangerous” it isn’t.

Let's put it in the local kids' pool then eh? Drive it up the road and dump it in Lake Inawashiro? Let's see how safe it is by dumping it into Tokyo Bay.

This is a huge humiliation for the country, and a further blow to the fishermen on the east coast. The reputation of their produce will be stained for a generation. Japan's fault, Japan's waste, Japan's responsibility.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

If the filtered water is released back into the ocean, it should be as far away from Japan as possible . . . is it fair to have it safely released into International Zone waters? . . . the nuclear reactor was made by a U S company . . . but the accident was due to an earthquake . . . . If the Japanese government says evaporation is also a "realistic option", is there a way to safely have the water evaporated naturally by the sun?  Polluted residue after evaporation can then be further treated for placement in containers outside of Japan (Antartica or Outer Space . . . Outer Space may be an option, by sending a container with remote power - consider Newton's 1st law - that being the case a container with contaminant could go beyond our solar system into deep space).

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

There are no words, shameful.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Im for one against dumping radio active waste into the pacific ocean....I sure won't be eating seafood for the rest of my life.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sure, it would be better NOT to have any radiation released, but when there are a list of choices, we need to pick the solutions that resolve it with the least impact and least long-term risks for the world.

This is safe when diluted like this.

We already have warnings against eating too much seafood, especially from larger fish like tuna where metals can become held in the tissues. The same safety measures would work here, just have an exclusion fishing zone around the exit pipes. Perhaps where all the Chinese fishing boats are entering Japanese waters?

Evaporation should be used too, though that is probably something down-wind countries aren't thrilled about. Spread across a hemisphere, this amount of water is practically zero.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

. Outer Space may be an option, by sending a container with remote power - consider Newton's 1st law - that being the case a container with contaminant could go beyond our solar system into deep space).

As long as I'm not helping to pay for that cost by Tepco increasing the electricity cost....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The nuclear genie needs to escape and escape it will...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Again...the radiation amount is the same and constant in every thinkable scenario. If it goes into the sea at once, if the containers burst or rust and then everything goes into surface, ground water, river and again the sea, if you filter it with any technology and bring that contaminated filter material anywhere, if you bring it to another place , those places and the trucks or pipelines radiate...and so on and on. You simply cannot change the sum of that radiation or nuclear energy. What is so difficult to understand of what you all have heard at school or university?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Billions in costs, ruined land & lives. This nuclear project is a massive loss exercise and will continue to consume resources of a diminishing economy. Time to reconsider the value of unmitigated growth and competition.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As radiation bioaccumulates in the environment, releasing more of it, means that more ends up in our bodies,leading to higher rates of sickness..

1 ( +2 / -1 )

God, please help us all.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japanese official are tone deaf

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If the water is cleaned from radioactive particles, only tritium will be released. Like it is done by any other nuclear power plant around the world - of which some release more Bequerel than now planned at Fukushima. The undertaking is basically nothing but an image problem which of course will be exploit by some countries or people.

Here is a neutral fact report about it: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=de&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww1.wdr.de%2Fwissen%2Ftechnik%2Ffukushima-radioaktives-wasser-meer-100.html

Once the release started, there will be numerous NGOs measuring the radioactivity, there will be numbers and they will be tiny - if at all sticking out of random noise - but boosted up by certain people and familiar countries.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Anyone doubting the dangers of nuclear power should question WHY Fukushima (despite having seen a huge population drop since 2011) is seeing an almost year on year increase in death rates in the prefecture...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Outer Space may be an option

There is a reason why this isn't considered an option for disposing of any nuclear waste; the chances and consequences of rockets full of poison exploding is currently considered greater than the risk of storing it on earth indefintely.

I recommend the Finnish documentary 'Into Eternity'. It concerns the building and thinking behind a 4km deep nuclear repository designed to store nuclear waste for 100,000 years, which will probably outlive human civilization. It's absolutely fascinating, and a bit unnerving!

The Finns passed a law in 1994 that decreed all nuclear waste produced in Finland must be disposed of in Finland. It would be a fine thing if all countries could take such responsibility for their own rubbish.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IntoEternity(film)

On youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayLxB9fV2y4

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Outer Space may be an option, by sending a container with remote power - consider Newton's 1st law - that being the case a container with contaminant could go beyond our solar system into deep space).

No, it isn't an option.

Average people don't understand how hard it is "throw stuff at the Sun". The Earth's rotation around the Sun provides huge speed that must be lost. Just slowing down to "fall" into the Sun is one of the most expensive orbital maneuvers. Going to Mars is easier, by far.

The economics of lifting 1 kg into space to leave the Earth's orbit just makes this impossible. The Rocket Equation is all about mass lifted. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsiolkovsky_rocket_equation For a rocket that orbits the Earth, usually 90% of the weight is for propellent, leaving 10% for the actual rockets, pumps, controls, and payload. Perhaps 2-5% for payload. Payloads that "slosh" are bad for rockets. There have been a few accidents due to payloads vibrating or "sloshing" inside containers.

https://medium.com/teamindus/rocket-science-101-the-tyranny-of-the-rocket-equation-491e0cf4dc6a is a little more approachable reading.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As I have been saying since 3\11 this water IS going to end up in the ocean, either released by man or mother nature or BOTH but make no mistake THAT is where this water will end up, there is simply no avoiding this.

End of story!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Now that's "cool and sexy" radioactive water should make for some good size fish growth. Of course on the outside they may look regular until you gut one and see the insides.....

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Before that, release some of that ‘spicy water’ around all the politicians homes and senior officials at Tepco. If they have no problem then by all means release it to the ocean.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

For those with objections and sarcastic comments, please share your solution. Keep building water tanks for the next 40 years? Then what?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This seems stupid. But I'm no nuclear physicist.

1) Can the water be fractionally distilled to ensure that no radioactive particulate is still in the water?

2) Can the remaining radioactive concentrate be put into long term nuclear waste storage inside or outside Japan?

3) Can the water be repurposed for use in the nuclear industry inside or outside Japan if no other alternative is viable?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

https://psmag.com/environment/50-years-after-nuclear-meltdown-3510

The worst nuclear accident in the US happened near where we used to live, in the mountains near the San Fernando Valley, in Los Angeles County, about 30 km north of downtown Los Angeles. To this day there are dangerous levels of radiation in the ground and in the groundwater near where the several nuclear meltdowns occurred, and the area is off limits to the public. When the reactors melted down, in the 1950s and 1960s, this was the first experimental nuclear power station in the nation. The meltdowns were kept secret from the public for decades, perhaps so as not to be a hindrance to the expansion of nuclear power around the world.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This report should be in the crime section.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The water in the tanks, after filtering, also contains radioactive strontium and cesium.

More unfiltered radioactive water is being created daily.

Parts of the plant are still so radioactive it kills robots sent to confirm its exact location.

This is an ongoing nuclear event.

One big earthquake will create a much bigger nuclear event.

The water will be dumped into the ocean, and then it will fill up again. Repeat forever.

Not having a solution is unfortunate, but not looking at the problem leads nowhere.
3 ( +3 / -0 )

The problem is placing nuclear reactors in a country beset by earthquakes-no more!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The problem is placing nuclear reactors in a country beset by earthquakes-no more!

And on the shore line where tsunamis happen. Seems really foolish, yet obviously a poor design choice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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