The Japanese government has officially decided to release treated water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean. It will be discharged in about two years after being diluted.
The Cabinet has endorsed a draft bill on the matter. Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide is promising transparency as the process moves forward.
Suga said on Tuesday, “This is a path that we cannot avoid in order to realize Fukushima’s regional reconstruction and decommission the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. We will execute it only after ensuring the process is safe. Negative rumors must not stand in the way, or extinguish the hopes of people in Fukushima for recovery. The government will put out information based on science. We will do the best we can. It’s all hands on deck.”
Water is used to cool molten nuclear fuel. It’s mixing with rain and groundwater flowing into damaged reactor buildings, accumulating at a rate of 140 tons per day.
The facility has enough tanks to hold about 1.37 million tons of wastewater. But it’s already at 90 percent of capacity. The remainder is expected to fill up sometime next year.
The water is treated in order to remove most of the radioactive material, but still contains radioactive tritium.
The concentration will be diluted to one-40th of what is required under national regulations. That’s equivalent to about one-seventh of the World Health Organization’s standard for drinking water.
Tritium (H-3) has a half-life of 12.3 years.