Disasters & Accidents

IAEA confirms safe tritium levels in Fukushima waters despite dump

Tokyo, Sep 9 (EFE).- The International Atomic Energy Agency has published the results of its first analysis of radioactive isotopes in the area of the Pacific Ocean where the treated water from Fukushima is being dumped and confirmed safe levels of tritium.

This represents the first independent sampling and analysis of waters in the area indicating that “tritium levels are below Japan’s operational limit,” the entity said in a statement.

The samples were collected by members of the branch that the IAEA has installed near the damaged Japanese nuclear power plant at different points within a three-kilometer radius of the discharge site, both at sea and on the coast, the report said.

The measurements “show consistency with the values reported by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) – operator of the atomic plant – as well as with those of the Ministry of Economy of Japan,” the agency added.

TEPCO publishes daily the results of its tritium concentration analysis, the only radioactive isotope that cannot be eliminated with current radioactive water cleaning systems, which remain below the country’s legal limits, in line with the guidelines of international security.

The agency said that as long as the values are within these margins, the human and environmental impact of the dump will be zero.

The entity has been collecting marine samples from the waters around Fukushima for the last decade, after being asked to do so by the Japanese government to assist in sea monitoring efforts following the 2011 atomic accident, and believes that the data steps for Japan are the appropriate ones.

The Japanese government said the dump is a necessary part of the plant’s decommissioning efforts.

Millions of tons of contaminated water have been generated at the facilities since the accident, either from cooling work on the damaged reactors and melted fuel or from rainwater leaks into them over the years.

This water is treated through a complex filtering system that eliminates most of the harmful radioactive elements, except tritium, before being stored in tanks for disposal.

The plant is running out of tanks or physical space to install them, so it has been decided to dump the treated water into the sea, a process that will last at least 30 years.

The treated water is diluted to reduce the levels of tritium present to less than a quarter of the concentration allowed according to national safety regulations and within standards considered by the IAEA, a common practice in the normal operations of nuclear power plants. EFE


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