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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Pumping up radioactive grounwater

August 12, 2014

TEPCO begins pumping up groundwater at Fukushima plant


FUKUSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Tuesday began pumping up groundwater at disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on a trial basis in a process necessary to build a facility for dumping such water into the ocean after removing almost all radioactive materials from it.

TEPCO plans to pump up about 500 tons of groundwater from drainages near the plant to store in tanks for a while.

The utility firm will then start experiments around Aug. 20 to check whether the level of radioactive materials in the water can be reduced through a cleanup system.

Under the plan filed with the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Monday, the operator of the crippled nuclear plant aims to lay pipes at the complex to transport the treated groundwater to a seaport within the premises.

Local fishermen are expected to oppose the water release plan. TEPCO says the water will not be dumped into the Pacific unless local consent is obtained, and plans to brief those concerned on the plan after the experiments.

About 400 tons of groundwater is believed to be seeping into reactor buildings each day and mixing with toxic water generated in the process of cooling the reactors that suffered meltdowns in the nuclear disaster in 2011.

The amount of toxic water could be reduced to around 200 tons each day with the new facility, according to utility sources.

August 12, 2014

TEPCO to start new drainage system


Aug. 12, 2014 - Updated 01:07 UTC+2

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has unveiled its latest strategy to deal with the buildup of contaminated water at the site. The plan involves treating contaminated groundwater and discharging it into the ocean.

Tokyo Electric Power Company on Monday applied for a permit to install the system, which includes drainage pipes leading to the ocean.

On Tuesday workers will start a trial operation to pump up groundwater from wells near the reactor buildings.
They will then test the treatment system's ability to remove radioactive material.

TEPCO is also building an iron embankment to prevent contaminated groundwater from leaking into the ocean before it can be treated. The utility plans to pump up water that will build up at the barrier in order to treat it.

This is TEPCO's first plan to release decontaminated groundwater into the ocean. Previously, the utility only allowed groundwater that had not been contaminated to be released into the ocean.

TEPCO says it will only go ahead with the plan if residents agree. The company is planning to meet with officials from local municipalities and representatives of the fishing industry.

But many in the fishing community are voicing concerns that discharging of decontaminated water may trigger unwelcome rumors over seafood safety.

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