Business & Economy

Fukushima spill plan goes ahead despite local opposition

By Antonio Hermosin Gandul

Tokyo, March 10 (EFE).- Japanese authorities continued with their plan to dump contaminated and processed water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean in 2023, despite the rejection of local communities suffering the consequences of the nuclear disaster 11 years on.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant, damaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, faces an uncertain dismantling process that will last beyond 2050, and in which the growing accumulation of radioactive water is the most urgent problem due to sort out.

TEPCO, the plant operator, and the Japanese government approved in April a plan to pour thousands of tons of water into the Pacific Ocean from 2023 after being treated. It’s a measure supervised by the International Atomic Energy Agency that has generated strong opposition from local fishermen’s groups and environmental organizations.

Fukushima Daiichi faces a long list of unprecedented challenges in the history of nuclear energy, among which the removal of highly radioactive fuels from the reactors stands out, or the storage of these and other residues that represent a great risk to human health and the environment.

The most pressing of these headaches is what to do with the water contaminated with radioactive waste after it is used to cool reactors or leak into nuclear facilities, of which some 1.29 million cubic meters are accumulated in drums inside atomic facilities where space has run out.

After analyzing with a scientific panel a series of possible solutions of enormous technical complexity, including methods of evaporation or underground injection, authorities and TEPCO opted to dump all the water into the sea in front of the plant after decontaminating it.

The operator said the water will not represent any danger to human health or the environment, since its level of radioactivity will be “well below” the limits established by both Japan and the World Health Organization.

The water is subjected to a succession of filters that eliminate all radioactive materials considered dangerous with the exception of tritium, an isotope present in nature, although in low concentration.When diluted in seawater, this would generate negligible levels of radiation, according to TEPCO and Japan’s government. EFE


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