The Japanese government is poised to release treated radioactive water accumulated at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea despite opposition from fishermen, sources familiar with the matter said Friday. It will hold a meeting of related ministers as early as Tuesday to formally decide on the plan, a major development following over seven years of discussions on how to discharge the water used to cool down melted fuel at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The treated water containing radioactive tritium, a byproduct of nuclear reactors, is said to pose little risk to human health because even if one drinks the water, so long as the tritium concentration is low, the amounts of tritium would not accumulate in the body and would soon be excreted. There is also no risk of external exposure even if the water comes in contact with skin. Still, concerns remain among Japan’s fisheries industry and consumers as well as neighboring countries such as South Korea and China. The government has said it cannot continue postponing a decision on the disposal issue, given that the storage capacity of water tanks at the Fukushima complex is expected to run out as early as fall next year. It asserts that space needs to be secured on the premises, such as for keeping melted fuel debris that will be extracted from the damaged reactors, to move forward with the decades-long process of scrapping the complex. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc (TEPCO) says it will take around two years for the discharge to start.
Japan Today 10th April 2021 read more »