Fukushima wastewater set for fourth ocean discharge

The country is set to start its fourth round of release of the nuclear-contaminated wastewater from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean, local media reported.

Despite concerns and opposition both at home and abroad, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) announced that it would start discharging about 7,800 tonnes of the wastewater today, in a similar amount to the previous three rounds, over about 17 days.

Amid chilly winds in Tokyo, locals took to the street to oppose the upcoming ocean release. They also voiced concerns over the recent leakage of contaminated water from pipes at the Fukushima plant, as well as potential safety hazards for the disaster-prone country in light of the Noto Peninsula Earthquake.

Domestic opposition and distrust were rekindled after Tepco admitted that on Feb 7, about 5.5 tonnes of water containing radioactive materials were discovered to have leaked from the outlet of a device used to purify nuclear-contaminated water at the Fukushima plant, and the water may contain 22 billion becquerels of radioactive materials such as cesium and strontium.

In Indonesia, a group of plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Japan at the Central Jakarta District Court last Thursday, demanding an end to the ocean release.

Marthin Hadiwinata, a member of the local environmental organisation Ekomarin and one of the plaintiffs, said the release “will directly impact Indonesia’s ecosystem,” Japan’s national news agency Kyodo reported.

According to Kyodo, Tepco, for the fourth round onwards, will skip the step of temporarily storing treated water in large tanks to confirm tritium concentration before release, while samples of the water will be collected during the discharge operation instead, and its concentration will be measured once daily. — Xinhua

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