Tepco, operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan, will discharge into the ocean more than one million tonnes of water currently stored there via an underwater tunnel, he announced Wednesday. This operation is expected to take place by 2023, according to a decision taken by the Japanese government in April.
This water comes from rains, underground aquifers or injections necessary to cool the cores of nuclear reactors which melted after the gigantic tsunami of March 11, 2011. It has been filtered several times to be rid of most of its radioactive substances. (radionuclides), but not tritium, which cannot be eliminated with current techniques.
This solution is highly contested by fishermen and farmers in the Fukushima region, who fear that it will further affect the image of their products with consumers.
Prevent water from returning to the coast
The water will be channeled through an underwater pipe 2.5m in diameter extending about a kilometer into the ocean, Tepco said. Construction of this tunnel should begin by next March.
The use of such a device should prevent water from returning to the coast, said Akira Ono, director of the Tepco subsidiary responsible for dismantling the plant. He also announced that he wanted to “explain in detail the security measures” and those taken “to avoid damage to the reputation” of fishing and other activities in the region. The operator has declared himself ready to pay compensation for these attacks caused by the discharge of water.