The Japanese Fukushima nuclear plant completed the first discharge of radioactive water into the sea

Plaintiffs and their supporters demanding revocation of TEPCO’s water discharge plan (Kyodo News via AP) (Uncredited/)

The operator of the destroyed nuclear plant Fukushima in Japan declared on Monday that it had completed the first pour of radioactive water treated to the sea and that it will inspect and clean the facility before beginning the second discharge in a few weeks.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant began discharging diluted water into the Pacific Ocean on August 24. Water had been accumulating since the plant was damaged by a tsunami and earthquake in 2011, and the start of the water release is an important step in shutting down the facility.

The discharge, which could last decades until the plant’s shutdown is complete, has met with fierce opposition from fishing associations and neighboring countries. China has banned all imports of Japanese seafood, which has harmed producers and exporters and has led the Japanese government to create an emergency fund. Groups in South Korea have also protested strongly, demanding Japan stop the release of the radioactive water.

Fumio Kishida (REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis)
Fumio Kishida (REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis) (ANUSHREE FADNAVIS/)

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, at summits last week of Asian and Group of 20 countries, emphasized the safety and transparency of the spill to win international support, and called for China to lift its ban.

During the first discharge, which lasted 17 days, the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, reported that it discharged 7,800 tons of treated water coming from 10 tanks. There are about 1.34 million tons of radioactive water in about 1,000 tanks.

Workers at the facility will clean pipes and other equipment and inspect the system in the coming weeks before beginning the dumping of 7,800 tons stored in 10 other tanks, TEPCO spokesman Teruaki Kobashi told reporters Monday.

All samples taken from seawater and fish since the start of the release show that Pollution levels are well below those considered safethe authorities stated.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has been cooperating with Japan and reviewed the safety of the project. It concluded that the release, if carried out exactly as planned, will have a negligible impact on the environment, marine life and human health. On Monday, a team of South Korean experts from the Korean Nuclear Safety Institute, under an agreement between South Korea and the UN nuclear agency, visited an IAEA office set up at the Fukushima plant to monitor the release and share information, the IAEA explained. it’s a statement. The South Korean team has been in Japan for the past two weeks and met with IAEA officials off-site.

TEPCO and the government claim that the water is treated to reduce radioactivity levels, and is then diluted with seawater to make it much safer than international standards.

The water had accumulated since three of the plant’s reactors were damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. It continues to grow as cooling water from the failed reactors leaks into the basements, where it mixes with underground water.

(With information from AP)