Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant “Treated Water” Discharged TEPCO Announces Undersea Tunnel Construction to Begin in 4 Days “Already Started? Citizens were in a state of exasperation
August 3, 2022
TEPCO announced on August 3 that it will begin construction of an undersea tunnel and other facilities on August 4 to discharge contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Okuma and Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture) after purification and treatment. The company aims to begin discharging the water next spring, but if the offshore construction is delayed by weather conditions or other factors, the completion of the facilities may be delayed until next summer. However, there is strong opposition to the project, especially from those involved in the fishing industry, and it is unclear whether the facilities will actually be able to discharge the radioactive waste. (Nozomi Masui)
On the 2nd, the prefectural government and both towns in the area agreed to the construction work, and on the 4th, they will begin digging undersea tunnels and laying pipes to transfer treated water from the storage tanks. TEPCO is proceeding with some of the work outside the scope of the consent, and has finished digging the hole that will house the water storage tank that will lead to the undersea tunnel.
At the press conference, Junichi Matsumoto of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Decommissioning Promotion Company made it clear that “there is no doubt that we will comply with the document with fishermen,” regarding the written promise with the Fukushima Prefectural Fisheries Federation that no ocean discharge would take place unless understanding is obtained. However, he simply reiterated that he would “do his best to explain” how to gain their understanding.
When asked if TEPCO executives would brief fishermen before construction began, he replied, “We have no plans to do so. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with Masanobu Sakamoto, chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Cooperative Associations, on the same day. Regarding a large fund for the continuation of the fishing industry, he said, “We would like to obtain the fishermen’s understanding on how to use the fund after hearing their opinions.
According to TEPCO’s plan, the treated water, which is mainly tritium, will be diluted with a large amount of seawater to less than 1/40th of the national discharge standard, and then discharged through an undersea tunnel about 1 km offshore.
◆”Voices not being heard by the government,” citizens’ group protests.
On March 3, when TEPCO announced the start of construction of facilities to discharge treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean, citizens’ groups in Fukushima Prefecture staged a protest in front of the prefectural government office, and the leaders of local governments where the plant is located asked the government to take thorough measures against harmful rumors.
On the afternoon of the 3rd, the co-chairman of the “Citizens’ Council” Oda, who heard about the plan to start construction on the following day, said, “What, it has already started? Chiyo Oda, 67, co-chairperson of the “Citizens’ Council” in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, was absolutely stunned. Construction began just two days after Fukushima Prefecture and the towns of Okuma and Futaba agreed to the work. She was concerned that the situation would become so dire that there would be no turning back.
In the morning of that day, the association held a banner in front of the prefectural office to protest. At a press conference held afterward, Mr. Oda said, “The plan is proceeding with the release of the waste. There are so many voices of opposition and concern, but the government is not receiving our voices? Kaoru Watanabe, 66, a resident of Date City in Fukushima Prefecture, expressed his concern, “I’m worried that they will push ahead with the construction work, create a fait accompli, and then push through with the discharge into the ocean.
Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori, Okuma Mayor Jun Yoshida, and Futaba Mayor Shiro Izawa visited the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and submitted a written request to METI Minister Koichi Hagiuda. Governor Uchibori told the press, “I hope that the government will work together to take the necessary measures (against harmful rumors, etc.) so that the efforts of the people of Fukushima Prefecture will not be undone by the release of the radioactive materials. (Natsuko Katayama, Nozomi Masui)
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