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Minister opposes releasing treated water from Fukushima plant into sea via The Mainichi

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan’s disaster reconstruction minister said Friday he is opposed to treated water from the disaster-struck Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant being released into the sea, citing the possible repercussions for local fishermen. 

Masayoshi Yoshino’s remarks came shortly after a top official from plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. said he is ready to see the tritium-containing water dumped into the sea.

[…]

Tritium is a radioactive substance considered relatively harmless to humans. It remains in the filtered water as it is difficult to separate even after passing through a treatment process. At other nuclear power plants, tritium-containing water is routinely released into the sea after it is diluted.

Yoshino expressed at a news conference his concerns over the potential ramifications of releasing the treated water into the sea, saying there would “certainly be (perception) damage due to unfounded rumors.”

The minister urged those pushing for the release of the water “not to create fresh concerns for fishermen and those running fishing operations in Fukushima Prefecture.” He also asked them “not to drive (fishermen) further towards the edge.”

He was alluding to concerns among local fishermen about the effects on their livelihood if the public perceives fish and other marine products caught off Fukushima to be contaminated.

[…]

An ever-increasing amount of water containing tritium is collecting in tanks at the Fukushima plant. As of July 6, approximately 777,000 tons were stored in about 580 tanks.

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