Japan has approved a plan to discharge more than a million tons of contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant into the ocean after treatment. The relevant decision was made by the government on April 13. The process is expected to begin in 2023 and take several decades.
1.3 million tons of water was used to cool three reactors that melted due to the failure of cooling systems due to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Radioactive water is now treated using a complex filtration process that removes most radioactive elements from the water. However, some radionuclides, such as tritium, remain. However, scientists claim that this isotope of hydrogen is dangerous to humans only in very large quantities. After purification, the level of radionuclides in the water will be lower than the permissible levels set for drinking water.
Purified water is stored in tanks, and by 2022 they will run out of space.
The idea of discharging polluted water into the ocean is opposed by the fishing industry, as well as the governments of South Korea and China. Greenpeace has long been a critic of the plan. However, Japan is supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency. According to the IAEA, this is a common practice of burying waste water around the world.
“They pour out into the ocean everywhere. This is not something new. There is no scandal here,” said IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi.
The researchers also recalled that much more radiation entered Pacific waters due to nuclear weapons tests conducted in the 1940s and 1950s by the United States, Great Britain and France.
The half-life of tritium is about 12 years — so in a few decades it will disappear from the environment.
According to the BBC.