Dumping Fukushima water into sea 'the only option', says Japan minister

Cheryl Sanders
September 10, 2019

Japan's environment minister has said that utility Tokyo Electric is running out of room to store contaminated water from Fukushima.

The water is now stored in tanks at the power plant site, but the utility says it will run out of space by 2022.

There has always been a plan to dump the water in to the Pacific ocean and the Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada has now said that he supports the plan. "The whole of the government will discuss this, but I would like to offer my simple opinion".

The power plant has been holding more than 1 million tons of water, that's slightly radioactive, in more almost 1,000 tanks since the disaster in 2011.

The minister had stressed that this was "just one opinion" and Suga emphasised that it was not the policy of the government, which has not yet given a timeframe for its final decision on what to do with the water.


8 a long time following Japan's worst nuclear catastrophe, the govt is not guaranteed what to do with the contaminated drinking water that remains - but its environment minister suggests dumping it into the ocean may well be the only choice.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says it received electricity from other utilities on Tuesday as demand for power jumped amid scorching weather.

Any "green light" given by the government to dispose of radioactive water at sea will anger Japanese neighbours, such as South Korea, who summoned a senior diplomat from the Japanese embassy last month, in order to explain how Tokyo will deal with the radioactive water problem, Reuters recalls.

Water that contains tritium is often dumped into the ocean by coastal nuclear plants.

"The government must commit to the only environmentally acceptable option for managing this water crisis, which is long-term storage and processing to remove radioactivity, including tritium".


South Korea's foreign ministry said in a statement it had asked Japan "to take a wise and prudent decision on the issue", Reuters reported.

Ties between the East Asian nations are already at a low ebb following a compensation dispute over wartime forced labor.

TEPCO, which also faces opposition from local fishermen, admitted a year ago that the water in its tanks still contained contaminants beside tritium.

"The Japanese government has been presented with technical options, including from United States nuclear companies, for removing radioactive tritium from the contaminated water - so far it has chosen for financial and political reasons to ignore these".


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