8 Août 2014
Aug. 7, 2014 - Updated 14:21 UTC+2
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has sought approval by local fishermen for a new plan to deal with contaminated groundwater.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, is running a so-called bypass system that pumps up untainted groundwater to keep it from mixing with toxic cooling water from the plant's damaged reactors.
But groundwater continues to flow into the reactors' buildings and become contaminated. Part of it is believed to be seeping into the nearby Pacific Ocean.
On Thursday, TEPCO officials met members of a fisheries association in Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture.
In the closed-door meeting, the officials are said to have explained that they plan to collect contaminated groundwater both at wells near reactor buildings and at an iron barrier along a coastal embankment.
The officials said they will remove radioactive substances from the water before discharging it into the ocean. They also said they will apply to the government to build drainage pipes and other necessary facilities.
Fishermen expressed concern that the move will increase consumer suspicion about sea pollution. They asked why the measure must be added to the newly introduced bypass operation.
Fisheries association head Hiroyuki Sato told reporters that fishermen were shocked to hear that the measure is needed only 3 months after the bypass operation began.
He said TEPCO will have difficulty obtaining their consent.
August 7, 2014
Tokyo Electric Power Co. is planning to pump contaminated groundwater from drainage wells at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and dump it into the ocean after removing almost all radioactive materials, company officials said Thursday.
The plan is aimed at reducing the amount of toxic water building up at the complex, a problem that has been plaguing Tepco since it started trying to clean up the stricken power plant in 2011.
An estimated 400 tons of untainted groundwater is seeping into the shattered reactor buildings and mixing with toxic water generated in the process of cooling the reactors.
Currently, Tepco is running another system it calls “ground bypass” that is aimed at pumping up untainted groundwater before it mixes with toxic water. The utility has dumped such water into the Pacific Ocean numerous times after confirming its safety, but has not released water that was contaminated and then treated.
The utility explained the plan to Fukushima fishermen at the end of July, the Tepco officials said, who added that the water will be dumped in the sea only after obtaining consent from them.
Concern remains high that the move will increase consumer suspicion about marine products from the area.
Tepco is currently constructing a new water treatment facility, as well as an iron wall on the sea side of the plant, in an attempt to keep the toxic water from flowing into the ocean. Both are expected to be completed in September.
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