Three years after the nuclear reactor meltdown resulted in one of Japan’s worst nuclear disasters, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant continues to struggle with decontamination efforts. With many projects failing to complete the projected clean-up, it’s a surprise that TEPCO’s “bypass project” is set to finally begin with the transfer of groundwater to the sea to happen soon.
The “bypass project” will see groundwater collected from the plant dumped to the ocean near the facility to prevent further accumulation of water that could be contaminated. Initial talks between the government and TEPCO agreed that only water with 1,500 becquerels per liter would be transferred. It took a while for the project to begin as TEPCO had to ensure that water will be measured correctly before moving it, in light of its agreement with the government and the local fishing industry, which initially opposed the idea. Groundwater accumulating at the plant now equals to around 400 tons of radioactive water daily and is the main cause of delay in the clean up.
An estimated 100 tons of water must be drawn daily before it reaches the reactor buildings and get contaminated. The water siphoned off are the ones to be dumped into the sea. After testing by TEPCO and two external agencies, the water gathered has met the strict standards set by the government, averaging 220 to 240 becquerels of tritium per liter. As it is way below the standard set, which is at 1,500, the utility is now preparing to move the water to the ocean next week. TEPCO will also hold meetings with local fishing associations to discuss their plans further.
[via The Asahi Shimbun]