By The Financial District
Japan To Release Treated Fukushima Nuke Plant Water
Twelve years have passed since the 2011 nuclear disaster and preparations are underway to discharge treated radioactive water into the sea from the crippled Fukushima power plant, although local fishermen and Japan's neighbors remain wary of the plan, Kyodo News reported.
Photo Insert: TEPCO and the government plan to release the water containing trace amounts of tritium into the Pacific Ocean despite opposition from fishery communities whose businesses have finally made progress in recovering from reputational damage caused by the disaster.
The Japanese government seeks to begin releasing the water sometime this spring or summer, with operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. (TEPCO) asserting the many large tanks holding treated water are obstructing work to decommission the defunct reactors.
TEPCO and the government plan to release the water containing trace amounts of tritium into the Pacific Ocean despite opposition from fishery communities whose businesses have finally made progress in recovering from reputational damage caused by the disaster, considered the world's worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown.
After a massive earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi plant lost power and the ability to cool its reactors. The Nos. 1 to 3 reactors suffered core meltdowns, and the buildings of No. 1, 3, and 4 units were severely damaged by hydrogen explosions.
Since then, water has been continuously pumped in to cool melted fuel and debris.
The water becomes contaminated with radioactive materials like cesium and strontium and mixes with groundwater and rainwater before being moved into storage tanks after being treated with an advanced liquid processing system (ALPS) that removes most radionuclides.
The introduction of the ALPS in 2013 allowed most contaminants to be removed from the water, but the process cannot eliminate tritium, which is difficult to separate.
Tritium is a relative of hydrogen and exists naturally in rainwater and seawater due to cosmic radiation and past nuclear tests. It is said to pose little risk to human health and the environment as the radiation given off by it is very weak and cannot penetrate human skin. It is also believed to be unlikely that it can accumulate in a living body.
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