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

Dumping or not dumping?

May 13, 2013

TEPCO seeks approval over dumping groundwater from Fukushima plant



FUKUSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Monday met with fishermen in Fukushima to seek approval for a plan to discharge groundwater it has pumped from the premises of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

After the meeting, Tetsu Nozaki, the head of the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations, said the federation has not given a green light to the plan and will make a decision after listening to the opinions of its members.

Because groundwater seeps into the plant's reactor buildings and gets mixed with highly radioactive water that is accumulating inside, TEPCO has created a system to direct part of the groundwater into the Pacific Ocean before it flows into the buildings. The water will be dumped after radioactive content is confirmed to be sufficiently low.

About 200 tons of groundwater has already been pumped out under a trial operation and has been stored in tanks. Its density of radioactive substances was "the same as rivers in surrounding areas," according to company officials.

TEPCO needs to continue to inject water into the three reactors that have suffered meltdowns in the wake of the nuclear crisis, triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

But the water injection currently leads to an increase of the overall contaminated water at the plant because about 400 tons of groundwater flows into reactor buildings and adjacent reactor turbines buildings every day.

When the planned system fully starts operating, TEPCO expects the total amount of groundwater inflow to be reduced to about 300 tons a day.

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