JAPAN TO RELEASE TREATED WATER FROM FUKUSHIMA NUKE PLANT
The Japanese government plans to release into the sea treated radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011 amid concerns over the environmental impact, sources close to the matter told Kyodo news agency.
An official decision may be made as early as this month and will put an end to seven years of debate over how to dispose of the water used to cool the power station that suffered core meltdowns in the disasters.
Earlier this year, a government subcommittee reported that releasing the water into the sea or evaporating it are "realistic options." Local fishermen and residents have been opposed to the release into the sea due to fears consumers would shun seafood caught nearby. South Korea, which currently bans imports of seafood from the area, has also repeatedly voiced concern about the environmental impact.
Hiroshi Kishi, president of JF Zengyoren, a nationwide federation of fisheries cooperatives, expressed opposition to releasing the water into the sea in his meeting with Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato on Thursday. The government will set up a panel to take measures to address such fears with Fukushima government officials and the local fisheries industry, the sources said. Widespread concerns remain, with many countries and regions still restricting imports of Japanese agricultural and fishery products in the wake of the 2011 disaster.