Wastewater discharged from Japan nuclear power plant monitored closely

JAPAN began discharging the treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea at noon today and will monitor radioactivity levels in the sea and surroundings with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Japanese embassy in Malaysia’s first secretary Yosuke Kurotani said that despite the continued IAEA involvement from an independent standpoint, Japan and Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) remain committed to ensuring a safe discharge.

“After the discharge into the sea, Japan will continue to conduct three types of monitoring: monitoring of treated water in tanks, real-time monitoring and sea area monitoring.

“If some event occurs, such as radioactivity levels exceeding standards, appropriate measures including suspending the discharge will be taken.

“Furthermore, the monitoring results by the Japanese government and Tepco will be made public domestically and internationally.

“We will continue to make every effort to ensure a safe discharge, with the continued involvement of the IAEA, including its reviews,” Kurotani told Bernama when asked about the ongoing preparations at the Fukushima power plant.

The treated water has accumulated on the site since the 2011 nuclear disaster following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

Below standards

Kurotani pointed out that the decision to release the treated water was made based on the technical validation process and weather and sea conditions during the wastewater discharge.

“Specifically, when releasing advanced liquid processing system-treated water into the ocean, it has already been confirmed that radioactive substances other than tritium are below the regulatory standards before release.

“Only tritium that meets the regulatory measures will be released into the ocean.

“However, it will take about two days to confirm the final safety. On top of that, if there are no problems with weather and sea conditions, the waste water is expected to be released into the sea on Aug 24,” he said.

Kurotani noted that Tepco will carry out the discharge with all IAEA staff already stationed at the Tepco Fukushima power station.

Global communities could check and follow the latest updates on the historical event through Tepco’s official website.

Opposition to discharge

The Japanese government has said that releasing the water is a necessary step in the lengthy and costly process of decommissioning the plant, which sits on the country’s east coast, about 220km northeast of Tokyo’s capital.

Japan has been collecting and storing the contaminated water in tanks for over a decade but space is running out, according to the reports.

However, neighbours South Korea and China have voiced their opposition to Japan’s move to discharge the wastewater into the sea fearing the action could have negative long-term consequences.

Meanwhile, after Japan started discharging the water into the sea, China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry in a statement that the country firmly opposed and strongly condemned the move.

“Its impact goes beyond Japan’s borders, and the issue is by no means a private matter for Japan.

“Since humanity began using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, there has been neither any precedent nor universally recognised standards for discharging nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean.” – Aug 24, 2023



Main photo credit: The New York Times

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