The Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has finally sought foreign expertise in dealing with the post-Fukushima meltdown issues. Lake Barrett, who was the former director of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at the Three Mile Island plant, told TEPCO on Friday that water must be released into the seas once low levels of radiation is confirmed.
Although aware that it’s easier said than done, especially with people’s lack of trust in TEPCO, Barrett urged that it should be done as soon as possible otherwise it is “just delaying the problem.” Barrett advised to “start pumping as soon as practical,” still aware that the Fukushima operator has been hesitant “because it’s a burden for the Japanese people, a burden for the fishermen.” TEPCO has resorted to collecting the contaminated water in storage tanks, one of which already leaked 300-tons last month. Barrett considered continuing with more tanks, though it is only delaying the problem. “Now is the time to deal with it,” he reminded. On a daily basis, TEPCO pumps 400 tons of contaminated waters from its defunct nuclear facility.
TEPCO President Naomi Hirose was met by Barrett on Thursday as the latter toured the facility. In an interview, Barrett shared that “water will be cleaned up and be ready to be discharged” in a matter of a few months. Putting a time frame to it, he believes it will be accomplished by early next year. He also recommended to “integrate foreign expertise within the Japanese system.”