Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) on Monday met with Fukushima fishermen looking for their approval for the utility company’s plan to dump the groundwater it has pumped from the premises of the disaster-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant. Groundwater that is collected in the ground from rain and precipitation may get mixed with the highly radioactive waste water in the plants already leaking underwater tanks, and the embattled utility company wants approval to redirect the groundwater before it mixes with the radioactive water in the tanks.
After the meeting, Tetsu Nozaki, the head of the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations, said that any kind of green light has not been given to TEPCO’s plan. The federation’s leaders will make a decision after listening to the opinions of its members. TEPCO has earlier ensured that the radioactive levels of the groundwater they will be dumping will be no more than the levels already found in the rivers and streams within the area. Still, they have promised the fishermen that the water will be tested to confirm if radioactive levels are sufficiently low. When the planned system gets the proper approvals and starts operating, TEPCO expects the amount of groundwater inflow into the premises to be reduced to about 300 tons a day.
In a trial operation of the dumping process, around 200 tons of groundwater was pumped out and has been stored in tanks. Radioactive substances were confirmed to be “the same as rivers in surrounding areas,” according to company officials. TEPCO continues to struggle with its decommissioning of the reactors in the Fukushima plant which suffered a meltdown during the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Water is still being continually injected into the cores and the process is producing around 400 tons of highly radioactive waste water by the day.