Japan's controversial plan to dump massive amounts of radioactive cooling water from the Fukushima nuclear ruins into the sea continues to raise concerns. Fukushima Prefectural Governor Masao Uchibori and local mayors called on the central government to take measures to prevent marine products from being damaged. Before that, however, they had given their approval to construct facilities, including an undersea tunnel, to channel the treated water from the nuclear ruins to the Pacific as planned next spring.
Even more than eleven years after the disaster on March 11, 2011 as a result of a seaquake and a tsunami, the destroyed reactors still have to be cooled with water. The resulting contaminated water is filtered and stored in huge tanks. According to the operator Tepco, space for the tanks will run out in the fall. The government therefore decided that more than 1.25 million cubic meters of the contaminated water will be filtered and diluted into the sea from next spring. For this purpose, an approximately one kilometer long tunnel is to be built into the sea through which the water will be dumped.
The plan did not find sufficient understanding among the population, Governor Uchibori said at a meeting with Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda. So there are still concerns about renewed reputational damage. The minister assured that security would be guaranteed. "We will provide information based on scientific evidence across the country and abroad," he said.
Environmentalists and Japan's neighboring countries such as China and South Korea are also outraged and have called for the dumping plans to be canceled. The cooling water in the nuclear ruins is treated, but the ALPS filter system cannot filter out the tritium isotope. Japan argues that tritium is harmless to humans in small amounts.