TEPCO has announced that it plans to dump contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean after processing it to reduce radioactive materials to legally permissible levels. By “processing”, TEPCO means once-high radioactive content has been reduced considerably, but not completely.
The plant has already released enormous amounts of highly contaminated water directly into the ocean from a plethora of leaks from the reactor buildings. Outside experts are seriously concerned about the contaminated water that is released, and have warned there may well be lasting impact on the environment.
The utility says the operation is necessary due to concerns that they will run out of capacity to store highly contaminated water which continues to accumulate. After the water has passed through the crippled units, it is processed through the SARRY system to remove cesium, but other systems designed to remove other radioactive materials have been overwhelmed by the complexity and concentration of contamination found at Fukushima Daiichi.
TEPCO estimates show that the volume of contaminated water required to be stored on site will likely triple over the next three years.
Questions have been raised if TEPCO would be able to gain the necessary approval from local municipalities and other parties who have raised concerns about plans to dump the water into the ocean.
In December 2011, the utility was forced to scrap a previous plan to dump water into the sea following fierce protests from fishing groups.
Source: Tokyo Web