Japan Readying to Release Highly Radioactive Water from Fukushima Plant Into Ocean

Authorities in Japan are set to release water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea,... despite reports the water is still highly radioactive after many attempts to decontaminate it. Lee Seung-jae reports.


Despite reports treated water at the Fukushima nuclear plant needed to be decontaminated even more before it can be released into the sea,... the Japan government has decided to release it anyway. The Japan-based newspaper Mainichi Shimbun reports that Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority chief told reporters recently that the authority plans to release the water once the radiation levels are lower. However, he added the authority doesn't think more distillation or dilution will help... nor does he think it's necessary.


Almost 85 percent of the water is said to contain dangerously high levels of radioactive materials. According to the plant's operator Tokyo Electric Power Corporation,... about 161-thousand tons of the treated water is 10 to 100 times over the limit for release into the environment,... and another 65-thousand tons is up to 20-thousand times the limit.


The release option faced heavy criticism at town meetings in Fukushima and Tokyo in August,... when TEPCO and the Japanese government officials provided little explanation about the contamination. TEPCO says it has the capacity to store up to 1.37 million tons of water through 2020,... and it cannot stay at the plant forever.


South Korea expressed its concerns over Japan's decision last week. "The ocean is not the property of one country, but a shared resource of the world. Releasing contaminated water into the sea is likely to have a significant impact on the marine environment and the safety of marine products."


Some experts say the water can be stored for decades, but others say the tanks take up too much space and could interfere with ongoing decommissioning work,... which the Japanese government hopes to finish before the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.


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