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Fisheries Agency opposes plan to dump radioactive water into sea

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Jun 8, 2011

Tokyo Electric Power Co’s plan to release water containing traces of radioactive materials from the tsunami-hit Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant to the sea has been stopped due to stiff opposition from the Fisheries Agency, sources close to the mater said Wednesday.

Although TEPCO told the agency that it will release the water after removing radioactive substances to an undetectable level, the agency is not approving the plan, leaving the fate of the 3,000 tons of the water accumulated in the nuclear power station, located 15 kilometers south from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant, undecided.

If the water remains in tanks for a prolonged time, the storage facility may be corroded by salt in the water.

After being flooded by tsunami following a magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck northeastern Japan on March 11, the Fukushima Daini power station saw about 7,000 tons of water accumulate in its facilities.

Of the water, 3,000 tons in the reactor, turbine and other buildings has been found to contain a small amount of radioactive materials such as cobalt.

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TEPCO initially planned to let the water stay in the tank, but changed its mind after seeing rust in the storage facility and decided to release the water into the sea.

The level of radioactive materials detected in the water is below the legal standard for releasing such water to the environment.

To seek acceptance of its plan, TEPCO told the Fisheries Agency and local fishermen it would further clean the water with a mineral called zeolite before releasing it.

The agency declined to comment on the matter.

At TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which lost many of the key functions to keep nuclear fuel cool in the wake of the natural calamities, highly contaminated water was found to have leaked into the sea.

The utility has also released water with a low level of contamination in line with its plans to deal with the nuclear crisis.

The moves raised concerns over its effects on fisheries and TEPCO’s unilateral notice on the releases to local fishermen drew public criticism.

This article was posted: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 3:58 am

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