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Fukushima radioactive water is not just tainted water!!!

TEPCO should be open in dealing with storage of tainted water
A large number of storage tanks on the grounds of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant hold water processed to remove most radioactive substances.
August 23, 2019
An industry ministry subcommittee has started debating a new proposal for the long-term storage of radiation-contaminated water being generated by the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant destroyed by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, takes a dim view of this approach. But the expert panel of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry should assess the advantages and disadvantages of storing contaminated water in tanks for decades.
The No. 1 to No. 3 reactors at the plant are still generating 150 tons of polluted water per day as these reactors are being flooded to cool melted nuclear fuel and underground water keeps pouring in.
Even after being treated with a filtering system, the polluted water still contains tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, and has to be stored in on-site tanks.
For three years, the panel has been discussing five potential ways of dealing with the problem, including diluting the water to safe levels and releasing it into the ocean, or vaporizing the waste water and releasing the gas into the atmosphere.
Since water containing tritium from nuclear plants in Japan is released into the sea according to the legal safety standards, the dilute-and-release method has been the favorite option among the experts.
But local fishermen are vehemently opposed to this idea. At public hearings on the issue held last summer in Fukushima and Tokyo, many participants voiced their opposition to this approach.
In response to a growing chorus of calls for considering long-term storage, the ministry has decided to task the panel with considering the idea.
Long-term storage would allow for waiting for radiation levels to decline naturally over time without causing any harmful effect on the local fishing industry. But this method would also pose tough challenges, such as securing land to place storage tanks, ensuring safety for many decades and preventing any disruption in the work to decommission the reactors.
The experts need to carefully assess the costs and risks involved in the long-term storage of radioactive water.
In a troubling move, the electric utility, known as TEPCO, warned at a recent subcommittee meeting that storage tanks holding processed water on the grounds of the plant will become completely full by the summer of 2022.
The warning about the increasing difficulty of securing additional land to place tanks seems to be aimed at putting pressure on the central government to decide quickly on how to tackle the problem.
The ministry panel, however, should not feel pressed for time in carrying out its job. It should rather spend enough time and exercise sufficient caution as it determines whether there is really no additional space for keeping tanks.
Disclosure of relevant information by TEPCO is vital for the panel’s mission.
The company’s stance toward disclosure has been far from exemplary.
At the subcommittee meeting, the utility did not offer sufficient graphics or data to support its claim that there will be no more tanks to store contaminated water by the summer of 2022.
Some experts even suspect that the company deliberately held back such information.
Last year, TEPCO was roundly criticized for failing to make active efforts to make it known to the public that higher-than-standard levels of radioactive materials other than tritium had been detected in treated water.
The company’s attitude inevitably raises doubt whether it has done serious soul-searching over its poor disclosure performance.
TEPCO has a duty to disclose all relevant information including inconvenient facts and engage in sincere dialogue with the local communities over this issue.
No progress toward a decision on how to deal with the contaminated water is possible without the support and understanding of the local communities.

September 1, 2019 - Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , ,

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