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Official approval for ocean discharge of “treated water” from Fukushima nuclear power plant…Undersea tunnel construction to begin next spring

On March 22, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority officially approved TEPCO’s plan to discharge “treated water” from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea, on the grounds that there are no safety concerns. Once prior approval from Fukushima Prefecture and the cities of Okuma and Futaba is obtained, TEPCO will begin construction of the facilities for the sea discharge. The government and TEPCO aim to start the discharge next spring.

A dredging vessel arrives off the coast of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant for preparatory work for the discharge of treated water (May 5, from Yomiuri Aircraft).

July 22, 2022
On July 22, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) officially approved TEPCO’s plan to discharge the ever-increasing amount of “treated water” from TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the sea, saying there are no safety issues. TEPCO will now begin full-scale construction of facilities to discharge the water into the ocean after obtaining prior approval from Fukushima Prefecture and the towns of Okuma and Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture, where the plant is located. The government and TEPCO aim to begin the discharge next spring.
According to TEPCO’s plan, an undersea tunnel will be constructed from the plant to about 1 km/meters offshore, and treated water will be discharged from the top of the tunnel. The water will be diluted with seawater before discharge, and the concentration of radioactive tritium (triple hydrogen) will be reduced to less than 1/40th of the national discharge standard and 1/7th of the World Health Organization (WHO) standard for drinking water. The concentration of tritium in the water will be reduced to less than 1/40th of the national discharge standard and 1/7th of the World Health Organization’s drinking water standard.

 The time required for the construction of the undersea tunnel and other work was initially estimated to be about 10.5 months, but will be shortened to about 8.5 months so that the discharge can begin next spring.

 The treated water is produced by the ALPS (ALPS is a system for removing contaminated water after cooling nuclear fuel that has melted and hardened as a result of the 2011 meltdown accident). The amount of treated water continues to increase, and is currently about half of the total amount of radioactive materials in the plant. The amount of water has been increasing, and currently about 1.31 million tons are stored in more than 1,000 tanks on the plant’s grounds. The capacity of the tanks is expected to be reached by the end of next summer or fall. The tanks are expected to be full by next summer or fall.

 Since continued storage would hinder decommissioning work, the government decided in April last year to begin discharging the waste into the ocean in the spring of 2011. It is expected to take several decades to complete the discharge.
The government and TEPCO need to provide more careful information.

 The offshore discharge of “treated water” from TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi NPP is an unavoidable step to reduce the number of tanks on the plant site as much as possible and to facilitate the decommissioning of the plant. If decommissioning does not proceed steadily, it will hinder the reconstruction of Fukushima.

 The treated water is water that has been purified from the contaminated water at the plant and most of the radioactive materials have been removed. Although tritium is technically difficult to remove, it has been scientifically confirmed that tritium has no effect on humans or the environment if it is diluted and its concentration is reduced. Tritium is also generated in the normal operation of nuclear power plants, and its release to the sea is permitted in Japan and other countries.

 In April this year, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which includes experts from China and South Korea who oppose the release of treated water, released a report on the safety of TEPCO’s plans and purification facilities after studying them. The report found no problems with safety.

 Nevertheless, concerns about harmful rumors persist, and local fishermen are opposed to the ocean discharge. In May of this year, after the Regulatory Commission approved a draft review report summarizing the results of its examination, it solicited opinions from the general public. As a result, 1,233 opinions were received, many of them from people who questioned the safety of the plant. The government and TEPCO need to further disseminate information carefully and seek the understanding of the public as a whole. (Makio Hattori, Science Department)
https://www.yomiuri.co.jp/science/20220722-OYT1T50110/?fbclid=IwAR1vstNjc7PCvVofMs-9yAA5GBKitGS0BkJPJw1-x62lwBfAt-0ghm-Ly6A

July 22, 2022 - Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , ,

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