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Japanese regulator gives preliminary approval to Fukushima water release plan

Japanese regulator gives preliminary approval to Fukushima water release plan


An aerial view shows the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant following a strong earthquake, in Okuma town, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo on March 17, 2022. Kyodo / via Reuters / FILE PHOTO

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority on Wednesday gave initial approval to the Tokyo Electric Power Corporation (TEPCO) (9501T) plan to release water from the devastated Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea, citing it. There are no safety issues.

An NRA official, dealing with the issue, said the NRA plans to make a decision on final approval after a one-month public comment period.

In 2021, the Japanese government agreed to release more than one million tons of irradiated water from the site after treatment into the ocean, starting in the spring of 2023. Read more

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The announcement sparked concerns from local fishermen and objections from neighboring China and South Korea.

Tepco plans to filter the contaminated water to remove the isotopes, leaving only tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that is difficult to separate from the water. Tepco will then soften the water until tritium levels drop below 1/40 of the regulatory limits, before pumping it into the ocean.

Even after approval by the NRA, Tepco, which plans to build a tunnel into the sea for the operation, still needs to get approval from local communities, including governors and mayors as well as fishermen, before beginning actual construction work, a Tepco spokesperson said.

The Japanese government and Tepco have indicated that the new facilities will be completed by mid-April next year, with the goal of starting offloading around the spring of 2023.

Before granting the initial approval, the NRA looked into various factors such as the performance of equipment to dilute the water with seawater, how to stop the release of water in the event of a malfunction and anti-seismic and tsunami measures, the official said.

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(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi) Editing by Rashmi Aish

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.




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