The government of Japan announced today that the discharge into the sea of the contaminated and treated water that accumulates at the nuclear power plant in fukushima it will take place between next spring and summer, despite the opposition of local fishermen.
The Executive approved this Friday a revised plan for the spill, which also includes compensation for the fishing industry that could be affected by the measure, against which neighboring countries such as South Korea and China have also protested.
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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is supervising the Japanese plan to dump the water once it is processed to remove most of the elements radioactiveand next week it will send a mission to Japan – the fourth of its kind – to discuss preparations on the ground.
“Before proceeding with the spill, we will wait for the IAEA to issue its general report, strengthen supervision functions, adopt measures to support the sale of products from the affected area and work against the spread of negative rumors”said today the spokesman for the Executive, Hirokazu Matsuno, after the Cabinet meeting where the new plan was approved.
It is expected that the discharge of water into the Pacific will take place “once the works for the discharge are finished” and “the investigation of the Japanese nuclear regulator, in addition to the report of the IAEA”, according to the spokesman, who estimated that the specific date will be between spring and summer of this year.
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The Japanese authorities and the operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO)had initially planned to proceed with the spill next April, although this date has been postponed due to the delay in the construction of an underwater tunnel that will be used to discharge the water from the plant one kilometer offshore.
This is water contaminated with radioactive waste after being used to cool reactors or leaking into nuclear facilities.of which some 1.29 million cubic meters are stored in drums inside an atomic facility damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami where space is running out.
After analyzing with a scientific panel a series of possible solutions of enormous technical complexity, including evaporation methods or underground injection, the Japanese authorities and TEPCO they opted to dump all the accumulated liquid into the sea in front of the plant after subjecting it to a decontamination treatment.
The water is treated with a processing system that eliminates most of the radioactive materials considered dangerous, with the exception of tritium, an isotope present in nature, although in low concentration.
The Japanese authorities affirm that the discharge will have levels of radioactivity below the limit set by the World Health Organization for drinking water, and that therefore it will not present risks to human health or the environment.
However, the plan still faces opposition from local fishing organisations, whose activities have barely recovered after the 2011 nuclear disaster, and which fear that the stigma attached to the area’s fish and shellfish will worsen due to the spill.
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