Nuclear plant to release radiation into Pacific Ocean
June 10, 2022 - Japanese authorities have granted permission for irradiated waste water containing trace amounts of tritium from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant, to be diluted and released into the ocean.
Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has granted initial approval to Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) to release contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.
A decade after an earthquake and tsunami wrecked the plant, causing the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, nearly 1.3 million tonnes of contaminated water has accumulated at the site.
The water is stored in around 1,000 huge tanks scattered all over the site, at a maintenance cost of almost $900 million a year – but space is running out.
Tepco plans to filter the irradiated water to remove isotopes, leaving only tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that is impossible to filter out of water.
Tepco plans to then dilute the water until tritium levels fall to less than 1/40th of regulatory standards, before pumping it down a one-kilometre-long pipe into the Pacific Ocean.
The NRA reserves final judgement on the plans until after a public consultation period, but if successful, which seems almost inevitable, the filtration plant will be completed in April 2023 and start discharging the contaminated water in the spring of that year.
- Fukushima water release plan gets initial OK from Japan regulator (Reuters)
- Fukushima nuclear power plant: Tritium water should enter the sea through a 1 km long tunnel (Market Research Telecast)
- What is the decommissioning project? (TEPCO)
- Treated water portal site (TEPCO)
- Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant (Geospatial Information Authority of Japan)