Japan eyes delay of Fukushima plant water release

Jan 12, 2023, 10:24 PM | Updated: 10:33 pm
FILE - This aerial photo shows the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima p...

FILE - This aerial photo shows the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, north of Tokyo, on March 17, 2022. Japan's government has revised the timing of a planned release to the sea of treated but still radioactive wastewater at the Fukushima nuclear power plant to “around spring or summer," indicating a delay from the initial target of this spring, factoring into the progress of a release tunnel and the need to gain public support. (Shohei Miyano/Kyodo News via AP, File)

(Shohei Miyano/Kyodo News via AP, File)

TOKYO (AP) — Japan has revised the timing of a planned release to the sea of treated but still radioactive wastewater at the Fukushima nuclear power plant to “around spring or summer,” indicating a delay from the initial target of this spring, after factoring in the progress of a release tunnel and the need to gain public support.

The government and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, announced in April 2021 a plan to begin releasing the treated wastewater into the sea starting in spring 2023. They say more than 1 million tons of water stored in about 1,000 tanks at the plant are hampering its decommissioning and risk leaking in the event of a major earthquake or tsunami.

Under the current plan, TEPCO will transport the treated water through a pipeline from the tanks to a coastal facility, where it will be diluted with seawater and sent through an undersea tunnel, currently under construction, to an offshore outlet. The company has acknowledged the possibility of rough winter weather and sea conditions delaying the tunnel progress.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters Friday the government has adopted a revised action plan, which includes enhanced efforts to ensure safety and measures to financially support the local fishing industry and a new release target of “around spring or summer this year.”

TEPCO President Tomoaki Kobayakawa said that despite the government’s new timing for the wastewater release, his company still aims to have the facility ready by the spring. He also acknowledged a lack of local understanding about the release and pledged to continue efforts to ease safety concerns.

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

The release plan has been fiercely opposed by fishermen, local residents and Japan’s neighbors, including China and South Korea. Fukushima residents worry the reputation of their agricultural and fishing products will be further damaged.

Most of the radioactivity is removed from the water during treatment, but tritium cannot be removed and low levels of some other radionuclides also remain. The government and TEPCO say the environmental and health impacts will be negligible as the water will be slowly released after further treatment and dilution by large amounts of seawater.

Some scientists say the impact of long-term, low-dose exposure to tritium and other radionuclides on the environment and humans is still unknown and the release plan should be delayed. They say tritium affects humans more when it is consumed in fish.

Japan is cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency to increase the safety, transparency and understanding of the water discharge plan. An IAEA team that visited Japan a number of times for talks and plant inspections last year will visit again in January to meet with nuclear regulators and will release a final report before the planned release begins.

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

AP

FILE- Dried branches of a tree stand outside Adani Corporate House in Ahmedabad, India, Friday, Jan...
Associated Press

Adani accuses short-seller Hindenburg of attacking India

NEW DELHI, India (AP) — India’s Adani Group, run by Asia’s richest man, has hit back at a report from U.S.-based short-seller Hindenburg Research, calling it “malicious”, “baseless” and full of “selective misinformation.” Shares in the conglomerate have suffered massive losses since Hindenburg issued its report alleging fraud and other malfeasance. On Monday, shares in […]
57 minutes ago
Garbage covers the base of a waterfall of the Nairobi River, which traverses informal settlements a...
Associated Press

Is there hope for a dying river in Kenya’s growing capital?

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Vultures scavenge for dead animals along a river turned sewer conduit in Kenya’s capital Nairobi. Its waters turn from clear to black as it traverses informal settlements and industrial hubs. The river and its tributaries cross Kibera, known as Africa’s largest slum with close to 200,000 residents, and other informal settlements. […]
57 minutes ago
FILE - A staff walking near a Nissan logo at Nissan headquarters is seen though a window on May 12,...
Associated Press

Automakers Renault, Nissan make cross-shareholdings equal

TOKYO (AP) — Nissan and Renault have changed their mutual cross-shareholdings equal at 15%, ironing out a source of conflict in the Japan-French auto alliance. Up to now, Renault Group has held a 43.4% stake in Nissan Motor Co. It will transfer shares equivalent to a 28.4% stake to a French trust, so it will […]
1 day ago
FILE - North Koreans visit and pay respect to the statues of late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong ...
Associated Press

Russian embassy says North Korea lifted lockdown in capital

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Russia’s embassy in North Korea says the country has eased stringent epidemic controls in capital Pyongyang that were placed during the past five days to slow the spread of respiratory illnesses. North Korea has not officially acknowledged a lockdown in Pyongyang or a re-emergence of COVID-19 after leader Kim Jong […]
1 day ago
People walk past an electronic stock board at Taipei Exchange in Taipei, Taiwan, Monday, Jan. 30, 2...
Associated Press

Asian shares mixed after last week’s gains on Wall Street

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were trading mixed in Asia on Monday after Wall Street benchmarks closed higher on Friday, capping a third week of gains out of the last four. Tokyo and Shanghai rose while Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney fell. Taiwan’s benchmark jumped 3.8%. Attention was turning to Wednesday’s decision by the Federal Reserve […]
1 day ago
A worker inspects solar panels at Premier Energies Solar on the outskirts of Hyderabad, India, Wedn...
Associated Press

Taxes slow India’s solar power rollout but boost manufacture

BENGALURU, India (AP) — In May last year Fortum India, a subsidiary of a Finnish solar developer, won the bid for a solar power project in the state of Gujarat. The project was due to be completed three months ago and would have generated enough electricity for 200,000 homes. But like many other solar power […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Japan eyes delay of Fukushima plant water release