A pipeline to transport seawater seen during a tour for foreign media, part of the facility for the releasing treated radioactive water to sea from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, also known as TEPCO, in Futaba town, northeastern Japan, 27 August 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/EUGENE HOSHIKO/POOL

First phase of Fukushima wastewater discharge concludes

Tokyo, Sep 11 (EFE).- The operator of the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant on Monday completed the first phase of the release of treated wastewater into the Pacific Ocean.

A total of 7,788 tonnes of water stored in 10 tanks was dumped in the sea smoothly, a spokesperson of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) told EFE.

This is around 0.6 percent of the 1.34 million tonnes of treated radioactive water that was stored at the facilities before the discharge began on Aug. 24.

Over the next three weeks, TEPCO plans to conduct an inspection of the equipment used in the process and begin a second phase of releasing the water as soon as the preparations are complete.

Millions of tonnes of contaminated water have been generated at the plant from the cooling of the nuclear reactors damaged during the 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan or from leaks from them over the years.

The water is treated through a complex filtering system that eliminates most of the harmful radioactive elements, except tritium, before being stored in tanks for disposal.

There are currently more than 1,000 tanks on the plant’s complex and the discharge of the water stored in them is expected to take at least 30 years.

The treated water is diluted to reduce the levels of tritium present to less than a quarter of the concentration allowed according to national safety standards and to levels within the international standards established by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has given its approval to the plan.

TEPCO carries out daily sampling and analysis of water samples from the Pacific Ocean within a three-kilometer radius around the discharge area, the results of which are in the public domain.

So far, it has not detected any abnormal radioactive levels.

The IAEA, which has also carried out independent analyses, has also not found any anomalies.

The agency has said on several occasions that nuclear power plants around the world routinely discharge treated water containing tritium and other radionuclides as part of their normal operations. EFE