Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), the beleaguered operator of the cripple Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, said on Wednesday that they have already started dumping groundwater into the Pacific Ocean after they have met the safety criteria set. The water has been accumulating at the plant since they started decontamination efforts and the storage of the radioactive water has been a major source of concern.
The accumulated groundwater is being dumped into the ocean before it will reach the heavily contaminated part of the plant. This is part of the plan to help solve the problem of an eventual lack of storage space for the radioactive water that was used to cool down the melted reactors at the plant. This operation has long been delayed because of objections from local fishermen as well as other problems that have beset TEPCO as they decontaminate the plant, the site of one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents in recent history.
To convince those who have expressed concerns over the effect of the dumping on the environment, TEPCO said they are only releasing groundwater that is way below the legal limit set by the World Health Organization when it comes to quality of drinking water. The water should have “less than 1 becquerel per liter of cesium-134 and cesium-137, 5 becquerels of beta ray-emitting radioactive material, such as strontium-90, and 1,500 becquerels of tritium.” They are planning to release around 560 tons of water that was dug up from the mountainside near the plant between April 9 and 14, while another 790 tons will be released next at an unspecified date. A TEPCO official said that the bypass operation will be able to reduce up to 80 tons from the 400 tons per day that the plant has been accumulating.
[ via Mainichi ]