TOKYO, Sep 10 (Reuters / EP) –
The Tokyo Electric Company (TEPCO) plans to pour radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean because it is running out of space in the tanks in which it stored the liquid, as reported by the Japanese Minister of Environment on Tuesday Yoshiaki Harada.
After the nuclear plant suffered the consequences of the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami in 2011, TEPCO began storing more than one million tons of contaminated water in tanks that had been used to cool nuclear fuel. These tanks, according to the company, will run out of space by 2022.
“The only option will be to pour the water into the sea and dilute it,” Japan's Minister of Environment said at a press conference in Tokyo. “The entire government will discuss it but I would like to offer my simple opinion,” he said. The Government's decision on the final destination of radioactive water is awaiting a report from a group of experts. Harada has not specified how much contaminated water will be discharged into the sea.
An eventual spill of contaminated water into the sea will probably provoke the anger of neighboring countries such as South Korea, which already convened a diplomat from the Japanese Embassy in August to ask for explanations about the Japanese government's plans with Fukushima radioactive water.
The relations between the two countries do not go through their best moment due to the differences arising from the decision of the South Korean justice to demand compensation from the Japanese company for having subjected South Koreans to forced labor during World War II.
Coastal nuclear plants often pour water containing tritium into the sea, a hydrogen isotope that is difficult to separate and is considered relatively harmless. TEPCO, which has the opposition of fishermen in the region, recognized in 2018 that the water in its tanks contains tritium and other contaminants.