UN watchdog approves plan to let water out of Fukushima nuclear plant
The International Atomic Energy Agency says that the release will have “negligible” effects on the environment.
The water that was used to cool the nuclear reactors is running out of room at the Fukushima plant.
China and South Korea have both been against Japan’s plan.
Tokyo hasn’t said when the release will happen, and the plan still needs to be approved by a government body.
In 2011, three units at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant were flooded by water from a tsunami caused by an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0. It is thought to be the worst nuclear accident in the world since Chernobyl.
More than 150,000 people were moved out of an area around the plant that was set up as a no-go zone. The plant is also being shut down, but this process could take decades.
On Tuesday, Rafael Grossi, the head of the IAEA, released the results of a two-year safety review. He also promised to keep working with Japan after the water is released.
In May, the agency said that Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), which is the national nuclear regulator, had shown that it could make “accurate and precise measurements” of the amount of radiation in the treated water. Tepco could give their final OK as soon as this week.
What went wrong in Fukushima?
Every day, 100 cubic meters of waste water are made by the company. On-site tanks can hold up to 1.3 million cubic meters.
Most radioactive elements have been filtered out of the water, except for tritium, which is hard to remove from water because it is an isotope of hydrogen.
Tokyo has said that the tritium levels in the water that will be dumped into the Pacific Ocean have been treated with seawater and are well below the standards set by the international community.
Waste water from nuclear power plants around the world often has more tritium in it than the cleaned water from Fukushima.
But the IAEA’s report won’t do much to calm the fears of the Japanese people and the people of countries near Japan.
China had already criticized Japan’s plan harshly and told the IAEA not to support it.
South Koreans, on the other hand, have bought a lot of sea salt because they are worried about food safety before the water is released.
Local fishing communities have also fought back hard, saying that it will hurt their image even more.