Fukushima OKs facility construction for treated water release plan
August 2, 2022
Local authorities have approved the construction of an underwater tunnel and other facilities to release treated water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean.
Officials from Fukushima Prefecture and the towns of Okuma and Futaba, which host the plant, conveyed their decision to the president of Tokyo Electric Power Company on Tuesday.
TEPCO, the operator of the plant, had sought the approval of those authorities based on a safety agreement.
Reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant suffered meltdowns in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.
Water used to cool molten fuel mixes with rain and groundwater. The accumulated water is treated to remove most of the radioactive materials and stored in tanks on the plant’s premises.
The filtered water still contains tritium. The government plans to dilute the water, so that the percentage of tritium is well below the percentage permitted by national regulations. The amount of tritium in the diluted water is also expected to be below the guidance levels for drinking water quality established by the World Health Organization.
The utility is now set to start full-fledged construction of the underwater tunnel and other facilities. It hopes to complete the work around spring of next year.
In July, the Nuclear Regulation Authority gave its final approval for the plan that TEPCO drew up.
One focal point had been whether the local authorities would approve the plan.
Locals, including fishers, are concerned about potential reputational damage to the region.
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