Juan Carlos Lentijo, head of IAEA’s mission to Fukushima Daiichi, Dec. 4, 2013: “Controlled discharge is a regular practice in all the nuclear facilities in the world. And what we are trying to say here is to consider this as one of the options to contribute to a good balance of risks and to stabilize the facility for the long term.”
Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, Dec. 4, 2013: “You cannot keep storing the water forever. We have to make choice comparing all risks involved.”
Xinhua, Dec. 4, 2013: Lentijo said that TEPCO should weigh the possible damaging effects of discharging toxic water against the total risks involved in the overall decommissioning work process. [...] Tanaka highlighted the fact that while highly radioactive water could be decontaminated in around seven years, the amount of water containing tritium will keep rising, topping 700,000 tons in two years. [...] nuclear experts have repeatedly pointed out that [tritium] is still a significant radiation hazard when inhaled, ingested via food or water, or absorbed through the skin. [...] fisherman, industries and fisheries bodies in the Fukushima area and beyond in Japan’s northeast, have collectively baulked at the idea of releasing toxic water into the sea [...] TEPCO will be duty-bound to submit assessments of the safety and environmental impact [...]
NHK, Dec. 4, 2013: IAEA team leader Juan Carlos Lentijo [...] said it is necessary and indispensable to assess the impact the tritium discharge might have on human health and the environment, and to get government approval as well as consent from concerned people.
Japan Times, Dec. 4, 2013: “Of course . . . public acceptance for this purpose is necessary,” said Lentijo, adding strict monitoring of the impact of the discharge would also be essential.
AFP, Dec. 4, 2013: [L]ocal fishermen, neighbouring countries and environmental groups all oppose the idea.
See also: Gundersen: They want to dump all Fukushima's radioactive water in Pacific -- Tepco: It will be diluted, then released -- Professor suggests pumping it out in deep ocean (VIDEOS)
IAEA suggests Fukushima consider ‘controlled discharge’ of Toxic Water into ocean
RT.com | Published time: December 04, 2013 16:56
"Regarding the growing amounts of contaminated water at the site, TEPCO should... examine all options for its further management, including the possibility of resuming controlled discharges (into the sea) in compliance with authorized limits," the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement.
"To pursue this option, TEPCO should prepare appropriate safety and environmental impact assessments."
The IAEA advice reflects the bind Tokyo Electric Power Co has found itself in as it attempts to manage the risks between holding greater quantities of contaminated water in storage tanks versus dumping partially decontaminated water into the ocean. Local residents and commercial fishing interests have strongly resisted efforts to drain the water into the sea.
Juan Carlos Lentijo, who headed a team of 19 experts that arrived on November 25 to check the decommissioning efforts, told a news conference in Tokyo that public approval was “necessary” before going forward, Japan Times reports.
Lentijo, director of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology, added that strict monitoring of the impact of the discharge would be necessary.
Despite local opposition to the plan, Lentijo added that “controlled discharge is a regular practice at all nuclear facilities in the world.”
Radioactive water has been leaking from the damaged reactors and mixing with groundwater since an earthquake and tsunami in 2011 destroyed the plant's power and cooling systems, causing three reactors to melt and damaging a fourth reactor building. So far, around 400,000 tons of highly contaminated water is being stored in approximately 1,000 tanks at the site. Leaks and other flaws found in several tanks earlier this year have raised concerns about more failures, especially if another earthquake or typhoon were to hit the area.
|Tokyo Electric Power Corp's (TEPCO) official (C) and journalists wearing protective suits and masks stand in front of storage tanks for radioactive water in the H4 area, where radioactive water leaked from a storage tank in August, at the tsunami-crippled TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture November 7, 2013.(Reuters / Kimimasa Mayama)|
"The team considers that since our previous mission in April this year, Japan has achieved good progress in improving its strategy and in allocating necessary resources to conduct a safe decommissioning of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station," Lentijo said, after concluding the inspection Wednesday.
He added that the “situation remains very complex and that there are still very challenging issues that must be solved for the plant's long-term stability."
The IAEA suggestion comes one day after officials on the Japanese Industry Ministry's contaminated water panel released a draft report warning that the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant could run out of storage space for contaminated water within two years if current plans are not fully workable.
The report, drawing from some of 780 sets of proposals sent from around the world, suggested covering the ground with asphalt to reduce rain inflow, building giant tanks with more capacity and installing undersea filters to reduce the radioactivity of water that leaks into the sea. Experts on the panel also proposed setting up a special team to focus on how to tackle the problem of tritium – the sole isotope that cannot be removed chemically by existing technology.
Currently, 400 metric tons of highly contaminated water is being produced at the site on a daily basis. In response, TEPCO has been running a test operation of a high-tech water processing machine called ALPS, which can remove all radioactive materials from the tainted water except tritium.
In line with IAEA recommendations, the utility hopes to discharge the processed water after diluting the level of tritium to legally acceptable limits.
IAEA Official: “What we are trying to say is consider” putting all the toxic Fukushima water in Pacific — Impact on human health must be monitored — Nearby countries all against it (PHOTO)
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