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Residents blast water-discharge method at Fukushima plant via The Asahi Shimbun

TOMIOKA, Fukushima Prefecture–Fishermen and local residents on Aug. 30 vehemently opposed the government’s plan to discharge radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, saying the measure will damage a number of industries.

During a public hearing on the measure, they also blasted the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., for “misleading” the public by failing to disclose that radioactive substances, such as strontium, remained in the water to be discharged.

Although the ministry and TEPCO will likely have to repeat purification measures for the water to remove those substances, they gained little support for their plan to deal with the radioactive water accumulating at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Thirteen of the 14 people who were allowed to express their opinions at the ministry-organized public hearing expressed opposition to the water-discharge plan.

[…]

About 100 tons of groundwater still become contaminated every day after entering the buildings. TEPCO also injects 70 tons of water daily into each of the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 reactors to cool the melted fuel.

Water from the buildings is purified, and 100 tons are stored in large tanks in the compound of the plant per day. The remaining water is re-injected into the reactors.

The volume of water stored in those tanks has reached 920,000 tons in the seven-and-a-half years since the triple meltdown. About 900 tanks, including those for unpurified water, now stand at the plant.

[…]

Discharging tritium into the sea is permitted if its radioactivity level is less than the statutory standard of 60,000 becquerels per liter of water.

But at the public hearing, the participants learned that traces of strontium also remained in the purified water.

[…]

The group said if the radioactive water is diluted and released into the sea, it would cost 3.4 billion yen ($30 million) and take seven years and four months to complete. It concluded that this was cheapest and quickest of the five methods.

Toyoshi Fuketa, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, also supported the measure of releasing the water into the sea, saying, “It is the only feasible method.”

(This article was compiled from reports by Kazumasa Sugimura and Chikako Kawahara.)

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