The operator of the damaged nuclear power station, Fukushima, said on Monday that the first round of processed radioactive water into the sea had been completed successfully and that the plant will undergo an inspection and cleaning before the second phase begins in a few weeks.
On August 24th, Fukushima Daiichi released diluted wastewater into the Pacific Ocean. This is a significant step towards the plant’s decommissioning since the water has been collected since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami devastated the facility.
Fishermen’s organizations and other nations have voiced considerable opposition to the discharge, scheduled to continue for decades until decommissioning is complete. As a result, China has stopped all seafood imports from Japan, harming domestic exporters and requiring the Japanese to establish a special fund to help those affected. Groups in South Korea have also objected strongly, asking that Japan halt the publication.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida emphasized the safety and openness of the release during summits of Southeast Asian countries and the Group of 20 nations last week to gain international support and get China’s ban lifted immediately.
The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings reported discharging 7,800 tons of treated water from 10 tanks throughout the 17-day first release. The factory has around 1,000 tanks to hold the approximately 1.34 million tons of radioactive wastewater.
On Monday, TEPCO spokesman Teruaki Kobashi told reporters that the plant’s personnel would spend the next two weeks rinsing the pipeline and other equipment and inspecting the system before beginning the discharge of the second batch of 7,800 tons kept in 10 additional tanks.
Since the discharge began, authorities have maintained that all sample data from saltwater and fish has been much below-prescribed safety thresholds.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has been working closely with Japan on the project and has conducted a safety study. It determined that the discharge would have a minimal effect on the environment, marine life, and human health if carried out as planned. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated that a team of South Korean specialists from the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety visited an IAEA office established at the Fukushima plant on Monday to monitor the release and provide information. During their two weeks in Japan, the South Korean team met with IAEA officials in separate meetings.
The government and TEPCO claim the wastewater is cleaned to eliminate radioactive elements and then diluted with salt water to make it far safer than international norms.