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

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August 29, 2013


Radioactive water should be diluted, released into ocean: experts



A panel to the Atomic Energy Society of Japan (AESJ) has suggested diluting and releasing radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the ocean rather than keeping it in aboveground tanks.

The accident investigation board under the AESJ, which has been examining the Fukushima nuclear disaster, compiled its view on the radioactive water leaks from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which states: "It would be realistic to dilute the contaminated water to levels found in the natural world and release it into the ocean after removing radioactive materials other than tritium."

The panel argues that tritium is generated in the natural world by cosmic rays and is also included in seawater in small amounts. The panel also says the substance is easily discharged from fish and other creatures and is hardly concentrated in their bodies. Therefore, the panel claims, diluting and releasing contaminated water into the ocean would reduce the risk of radiation exposure and environmental pollution through incidental leaks, rather than keeping it in aboveground tanks.

However, such an ocean release is unlikely to take place right away, because TEPCO's water decontamination system called the Multi-nuclide Removal Equipment (ALPS) -- which could remove up to 62 kinds of radioactive substances apart from tritium from up to 500 tons of water each day -- has yet to be put into full operation, while understanding from local residents and neighboring countries would also be necessary.

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