Tokyo has still to make a final decision on disposal method Water stored at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power station in northern Japan could be released into the sea. Japan has asked the International Atomic Energy Agency for support with the proposed release into the sea of treated radioactive water accumulating at the Fukushima-Daichi nuclear power station.

Japan wants IAEA experts to help evaluate the methods, handling and facilities ahead of the release, and to provide quality control and environmental monitoring once it begins.

Japan is considering releasing the water used to cool reactors and stored at the Fukushima-Daiichi complex into the sea, but has yet to make a final decision in the face of opposition from the local fishery industry and neighbouring countries.

In a videoconference, Japan’s industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama told IAEA director-general Rafael Grossi that Japan wants the agency to conduct a scientific and objective review of the method of disposal and openly convey its view to the international community, Japanese officials said.

Mr Grossi said the IAEA will give full backing to Mr Kajiyama’s request for a safety review of the release of radioactive water into the sea, once Japan makes a final decision. The two sides also agreed to cooperate in the station‘s decommissioning.

Mr Kajiyama told Mr Grossi the Japanese government is in “final-stage coordination” for deciding its policy on the treated water.

Water used to cool the melted-down cores and groundwater from close to the damaged facility contains some radioactive materials. It is being collected, treated and stored in tanks on the plant grounds, but space is running out and the government is exploring ways to deal with the waste water – which already totals more than one million tonnes with the volume increasing by more than 100 tonnes every day.

The IAEA has urged Japan’s government to urgently decide on how to dispose of the water. Five disposal methods are being considered by the government: ground injection, controlled discharge into the sea, discharge as steam, discharge as hydrogen, and solidification for underground burial.

Japan’s industry ministry has said it will be safe to release water into the ocean, stressing that on an annual basis the amount of radiation measured near the release point would be very small compared to levels to which humans are naturally exposed.

Releasing treated water into the sea in a controlled manner is common practice at nuclear power plants and is generally considered the most viable option for Fukushima-Daichi because it could be done quickly and would cost the least.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has long said that releasing the treated water into the sea is the most reasonable option, but people in Fukushima prefecture, especially fishermen, fear it will damage the region’s reputation, the Japan Times reported.

Date: Friday, 26 March 2021
Original article: