Today: Wednesday, 27 September 2023 year

Japan decided to start dumping water from Fukushima-1 no earlier than August 24th.

Japan decided to start dumping water from Fukushima-1 no earlier than August 24th.

The discharge of water from the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant will begin “at the earliest on August 24,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said at a meeting of key ministers in charge of discharging weakly radioactive water from the nuclear power plant into the ocean.

“As for the specific release dates: if there are no contraindications due to weather and sea conditions, then we are counting on August 24,” the Prime Minister said.

Thus, Japan officially decided to start dumping water from the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant into the ocean.

Kishida visited the station on Sunday and met with its management. On Monday, he met with the leadership of the National Federation of Associations of Fishing Cooperatives, where the fishermen said that they oppose the discharge of water into the ocean because of reputational risks.

Despite this, the government considered that “to a certain extent” it was possible to achieve an understanding of the parties concerned, in connection with which today at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, the dates for the start of the discharge of water from the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant into the ocean were determined.

Japan plans to begin discharging water purified from all radionuclides, except for tritium, into the ocean at a distance of 1 kilometer from the station.

During the accident at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant in 2011, nuclear fuel melted at the first, second and third reactors. The water that is used to cool the reactors and is contaminated with radioactive substances passes through a multi-stage ALPS system, which makes it possible to purify it from 62 types of radionuclides, with the exception of tritium. Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, otherwise it is called “superheavy hydrogen” or 3H, which makes it difficult to clean water from it. Tritium exists in nature, due to weak beta radiation its effect on humans is limited, at the same time it is dangerous if it enters the body. Water purified from radionuclides with the exception of tritium is now stored in giant tanks at the station. Every day, about 140 tons of radioactive water are added to them. About 1,000 giant tanks have been installed at the station, but almost 90% of their volume of 1.37 million tons is already filled.

The issue of water disposal methods has been considered since 2013. Among others, options were considered to mix it with cement and concrete underground, to separate hydrogen by electrolysis, and others. In the end, the government decided to start dumping water into the sea, after diluting it and bringing the concentration of tritium to 1,500 becquerels per liter, which is 40 times less than the norm adopted in Japan for draining water into the sea from the operation of operating nuclear power plants – 60 thousand becquerels. According to the Ministry of Industry of Japan, the radioactivity of tritium in the 1.25 million tons of water accumulated at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant is 860 trillion becquerels. Before the accident, the station was dumping 2.2 trillion becquerels of tritium-containing water into the sea every year.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said during his visit to Tokyo in July that the water release plan was in line with agreed international standards and the impact on the environment would be negligible. However, local residents, farmers and fishermen of Fukushima fear that the release of weakly radioactive water into the ocean will negatively affect the image of products produced in the prefecture.