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Japan to release Fukushima's contaminated water into sea

Japan to release Fukushima's contaminated water into sea”

Currently, Japan houses the water in more than 1,000 tanks, but with 170 additional tons of the radioactive by-product being produced every day, storage space is quickly running out.

Photo by William Daniels/The New York TimesIn this January 25, 2018, file photo, an installation of a dome-shaped rooftop cover housing key equipment is near completion at Unit 3 reactor of the Fukushima Dai-ich nuclear power plant ahead of a fuel removal from its storage pool in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeast Japan. Last month, a Japanese high court upheld a ruling ordering the government and the plant's operating company to pay a further $9.5m (£7.3m).

"It's not true that the government has decided on a direction, or the timing for a decision", Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters in Tokyo on Friday.

A government panel said earlier this year that releasing the water into the sea or evaporating it were both "realistic options".

Dumping the water into the ocean threatens to hurt Japan's relationship with South Korea, and comes despite opposition from environmental groups and the local fishing industry, which is still struggling to recover from the disaster.

Any release of the water is expected to antagonize Japanese fishermen and raise concerns in neighboring countries.

It has said it plans to remove all radioactive particles from the water except tritium, an isotope of hydrogen that is hard to separate and is considered to be relatively harmless.

Tritium is only harmful to humans in very large doses, experts say.

Fukushima
Fukushima Daiichi Wikimedia commons

Plant operator TEPCO is building more tanks, but all will be full by mid-2022.

"With the foremost priority placed on the protection of our citizens' health and safety, the government will continue to pay keen attention to Japan's activities related to the disposal of the contaminated water and will seek to craft measures in cooperation with the global community", it added.

The delayed Olympic Games are due to be held in Tokyo next summer, with some events less than 40 miles from the plant.

But further issues have surfaced since then, and TEPCO admitted in 2018 that its filtration systems had not removed all risky material from the water.

The release likely won't occur for another two years and could take decades to complete, Kyodo said.

Earlier this month, a court found both TEPCO and the Japanese government at fault for failing to prevent the meltdown.

The reactors went into meltdown as its cooling systems failed, sparking the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

In addition, more than 3,700 people - majority from Fukushima - died from illness or suicide linked to the aftermath of the tragedy, according to government data, while more than 50,000 still remain displaced.

More news: US Hoping For Two COVID-19 Vaccines By End Of November



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