Japan: The discharge of contaminated water from Fukushima in the spring or this summer

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Japanese government said on Friday that the dumping of contaminated water from the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean is expected to be carried out “around spring or this summer”, giving details of a plan approved by Tokyo in April 2021.

Deemed risk-free by Japanese regulators last July, the move has raised concerns among the domestic fishing industry and neighboring countries such as China and South Korea.

The Japanese government considers the discharge of water as necessary to complete the dismantling of the Fukushima power plant, devastated by a tsunami in March 2011.

Nearly 1.3 million tonnes of contaminated water, allowing the damaged reactors to be cooled, are stored in giant tanks on the site, where space is running out.

The discharge is to be carried out in stages once the waters have been treated by the operator of the plant, Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power), which provides for filtering to remove harmful elements, with the exception of tritium – a radioactive isotope of hydrogen impossible to separate from water.

Tepco also plans to build an underwater tunnel from the plant to discharge water about a kilometer offshore.

(Report Sakura Murakami; French version Jean Terzian)

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