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Japan to present plan on diluting Fukushima radioactive wastewater


Japan to present plan on diluting Fukushima radioactive wastewater

Photo: Hiro Komae/AP

The Japanese government will today present its plan to dispose of contaminated water from the defunct Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It intends to treat and release the water into the Pacific Ocean.

The wastewater was pumped through the plant’s reactors to cool melted fuel debris following Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami. However, storage for the contaminated water–which contains the radioactive material tritium–is nearing capacity. A government panel considered multiple disposal options, including evaporation.

The decision to dump the wastewater has drawn criticism domestically and abroad. China and South Korea have voiced concerns, as have Japanese fishing lobbies, which argue it will further damage the reputation of their products. Multiple neighbors–including China and Taiwan–already impose restrictions on food imported from Fukushima.

Expect Japan’s government to progress with the ocean-release plan, likely citing the International Atomic Energy Agency’s endorsement of the move and the low tritium levels of treated water. After seven years of deliberation, the government has run out of time to find alternatives before storage tanks reach capacity in 2022. While there is little Tokyo can do to placate neighbors, it likely will offer subsidies to ameliorate fisheries’ concerns, especially those based around the Fukushima area.

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