In another controversial, eyebrow-raising statement from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), it seems that it is considering throwing huge amounts of water coming from the power plant into the Pacific Ocean. The water is said to be treated first by introducing a new purification equipment that would remove radioactive substances from the contaminated water towards the end of March.
During a March 1 meeting held in Tokyo by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), a TEPCO official asked for the “understanding of the people concerned” as regards the situation. Apparently, some 360,000 cubic meters of contaminated water are on the premises of the No. 1 plant. Storage tanks can only hold about 240,000 cubic meters more. There is said to be an influx of about 400 cubic meters of groundwater everyday from the reactor buildings, although the influx routes have yet to be confirmed. TEPCO is planning to construct more storage tanks by September 2015 to increase the capacity to a total of 700,000 cubic meters. In the meantime, space on the premises of the plant for such storage tanks is already reaching its limit.
Of course, the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations is firmly opposed to this plan, or any plan that would require releasing water from nuclear plants into the environment for that matter. And perhaps, rightly so. The “cleaning process” of TEPCO is only capable of removing 62 of 63 known radioactive substances in the water, leaving the water still contaminated with tritium. Shoichi Abe, a senior official of the Soma Futaba fisheries association, furiously said, “Even if tritium is diluted, it cannot be removed 100%. If it is released into the ocean, consumers will look at Fukushima’s seas with suspicion.”
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