AP

Japan OKs preparation step for Fukushima plant water release

Jul 22, 2022, 3:50 AM | Updated: 9:25 am

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s nuclear regulator on Friday approved details of a planned release of treated radioactive wastewater from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea next year.

The approval by the Nuclear Regulation Authority will enable Tokyo Electric Power Co. to start building necessary facilities ahead of the discharge. It came two months after a preliminary greenlight and a subsequent public review process.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings submitted the plan in December based on a government decision last year to release the wastewater as a necessary step for the plant’s ongoing decommissioning.

A massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi plant’s cooling systems, causing triple meltdowns and the release of large amounts of radiation. Water that was used to cool the three damaged reactor cores, which remain highly radioactive, has since leaked into basements of the reactor buildings but was collected and stored in tanks.

Local fishing communities and neighboring countries have raised concerns about potential health hazards from the radioactive wastewater, which TEPCO and government officials say will be treated to levels far below releasable standards. They maintain that the environmental and health impacts will be negligible.

Japan nuclear authority chairman Toyoshi Fuketa told reporters Friday that the release plan had no major technical or safety issues. He said the regulators will ensure approved procedures are strictly followed with transparency.

The government and TEPCO say that of more than 60 isotopes selected for treatment, all but one, tritium, will be reduced to meet safety standards. Scientists say impacts of long-term, low-dose exposure to tritium for the environment and humans are still unknown. Tritium affects humans more when it is consumed in fish, they say.

The contaminated water is being stored in about 1,000 tanks at the damaged plant. Officials say they must be removed so that facilities can be built for its decommissioning. The tanks are expected to reach their capacity of 1.37 million tons next year.

TEPCO said it plans to transport treated and releasable water through a pipeline from the tanks to a coastal facility, where it will be diluted with seawater and then sent through an undersea tunnel with an outlet about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) away to minimize the impact on local fishing and the environment.

The government and TEPCO still need to gain local consent for building the tunnel and other related facilities. They plan to begin gradually releasing the treated water in spring 2023.

China on Friday renewed its protest over the planned wastewater release and urged Japan to carry out the disposal in “a scientific, open, transparent and safe manner.”

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin demanded Japan “stop pushing the discharge plan before reaching a consensus with all stakeholders and relevant international agencies.”

Japan has sought help from the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure the water release meets international safety standards and reassure local fishing and other communities and neighboring countries that have opposed the plan.

Experts from the IAEA visited the plant earlier this year and said Japan was taking appropriate steps for the planned discharge.

In a statement Friday, TEPCO pledged to sincerely respond to the IAEA reviews, ensure safety, provide data to the public and strengthen its radiation monitoring. The company also vowed to do its utmost to explain the water discharge plans and gain the public’s understanding about the decommissioning.

___

AP video producer Liu Zheng in Beijing contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Tracy Toulou...

Associated Press

How to tackle crime in Indian Country? Empower tribal justice, ex-Justice Department official says

A recently retired director of the Justice Dept. says the federal government hasn't given tribal justice systems equal recognition.

4 hours ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson...

Associated Press

House Speaker Mike Johnson says he will push for aid to Israel and Ukraine this week

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he will try to advance wartime aid for Israel this week, along with funding for Ukraine.

5 hours ago

President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Pullman Yards in Atlanta...

Associated Press

US shoots down ‘nearly all’ Iran-launched attack drones as Biden vows support for Israel’s defense

Joe Biden cut short a weekend stay at his beach house to meet with his national security team as Iran launched an attack against Israel.

2 days ago

Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol after ...

Associated Press

Abortion ruling supercharges Arizona to be an especially important swing state

A ruling this week instituting a near-total abortion ban supercharged Arizona's role, turning it into the most critical battleground.

2 days ago

Former President Donald Trump, center, appears in court for his arraignment, Tuesday, April 4, 2023...

Associated Press

Manhattan court searching for jurors to hear first-ever criminal case against a former president

Jury selection is set to start Monday in former President Donald Trump's hush money case — the first trial of the presumptive nominee.

2 days ago

Emergency personnel arrive on the scene after a  an 18-wheeler crashed into the Texas Department of...

Associated Press

1 dead and 13 injured in semitrailer crash at a Texas public safety office, with the driver jailed

A driver rammed an 18-wheeler though the front of a building where his renewal for a commercial driver’s license had been rejected.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Japan OKs preparation step for Fukushima plant water release