Since the accident in Fukushima, the question of what should happen to the filtered cooling water from the nuclear ruins has been debated. Now the Japanese government has apparently made a decision.
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Despite protests, the Japanese government wants to drain filtered cooling water from the Fukushima nuclear ruin into the sea, reports various Japanese media. The reason is that there is gradually no more space to store the water on the site of the nuclear power plant, which was destroyed in 2011 as a result of an earthquake and tsunami.
Currently the water is stored in a thousand tanks. At the latest in summer 2022, however, the space would run out, it was said. The government therefore believes that draining the water into the sea is a realistic option.
South Korea warns of the consequences
However, fishermen and residents in Fukushima oppose such a measure. At a meeting with a government spokesman this week, the head of a fisheries association expressed his opposition to the water being diverted from the Fukushima nuclear ruin into the sea.
South Korea, which is currently banning seafood imports from the region, has also repeatedly expressed concern about the impact on the environment. The new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he wanted to make a decision on the water issue “as soon as possible”.
Necessary construction work could take two years
According to media reports, after seven years of debate over what to do with the water, Japan could make the decision later this month. But since construction measures are necessary to drain the water and an assessment by the nuclear supervisory authority must first be made, it could take about two years before the drainage could begin, the reports said.Workers are standing by the water tanks: The storage space for the contaminated water is becoming scarce. (Source: Aaron Sheldrick / Reuters)
Almost ten years have passed since a major earthquake and a huge tsunami hit northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011. Around 18,500 people died in the floods at that time. However, the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant became a symbol of the catastrophe, even if no one was killed directly.
Water is extensively filtered
Because of the radioactive radiation from core meltdowns in three of the reactors, around 160,000 residents had to flee. It was the worst nuclear catastrophe since the Chernobyl accident in 1986. The situation in the Fukushima nuclear ruin is now considered stable. But the enormous amounts of contaminated water are increasingly becoming a problem.
Even today the reactors have to be cooled with water. Every day about 170 tons are added that have to be stored. The water is subjected to an extensive filtering process in order to reduce the radioactive content.
Despite cleaning, radioactivity was above the limit
In the end, according to the authorities, it should only contain tritium, which cannot be filtered out with the existing technologies. According to experts, tritium is only harmful to humans in very high doses. However, the operator Tepco recently had to repeat the cleaning process because, according to the media, some of the radioactivity was still above the limit values.
The International Atomic Energy Agency argues that properly filtered water can be safely discharged into the ocean without causing environmental problems.