21 Janvier 2015
January 21, 2015
Jan. 21, 2015 - Updated 08:35 UTC+1
Japan's nuclear regulator has approved a plan by Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, to drain filtered wastewater from the firm's crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant into the sea.
TEPCO officials plan to pump up contaminated groundwater through wells built around structures housing the plant's damaged reactors. The firm also plans to reduce the level of radioactive material in the water before releasing it into the nearby Pacific.
On Wednesday, the Nuclear Regulation Authority approved TEPCO's plan to install drainpipes and a pumping system and to reduce the level of radioactive cesium-137 to less than one becquerel per liter. It also agreed with the firm's policy of starting the drainage system gradually.
The regulator asked the utility to ensure that no wastewater leaks and to fully disclose measurements for radioactive material.
Tokyo Electric said it will not drain filtered wastewater until local residents agree to the plan.
The timing of such agreement is unclear, as local fishermen are worried that rumors of tainted seawater would affect their business.
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Nuclear Regulation Authority on Wednesday gave the green light to Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s plan to dump toxic groundwater pumped up at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex into the Pacific Ocean after removing almost all radioactive materials from it.
The plan is one of the measures aimed at curbing the amount of contaminated water building up at the seaside complex. But it remains uncertain when the operator may actually release the water.
Local fishermen have registered strong concerns that dumping the water will heighten consumer apprehension about marine pollution, and TEPCO has said it will not release the water unless it obtains consent from the locals.
The company plans to treat water pumped up through 42 of its wells at a water treatment facility at the plant. After treatment, the water will be temporarily stored in tanks to check whether the amount of radioactive materials left in it is within levels deemed safe for release into the sea.
According to TEPCO, the amount of radioactive water at the complex is believed to be increasing by some 350 tons every day as fresh, untainted groundwater is seeping into reactor buildings and mixing with toxic water generated in the process of cooling the reactors that suffered meltdowns in the 2011 nuclear disaster.
Separately, TEPCO is running a groundwater bypass that is aimed at pumping up untainted groundwater before it mixes with radioactive water. Since the earthquake- and tsunami-triggered disaster, the operator has dumped such water into the Pacific numerous times after confirming its safety.