In a race against time, Japan has accelerated its preparations for the highly debated discharge of treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Fukushima TV reported on the 6th that the momentous task of injecting seawater into a submarine tunnel from both land and sea has been successfully accomplished.
The injection operation, initiated the previous day, reached its completion at 5 a.m. the following day, with 6,000 tons of seawater safely pumped into the tunnel, ready for the planned release of the contaminated water. The Japanese government intends to utilize a submarine tunnel spanning approximately 1 km to facilitate the release of the treated water from the nuclear plant into the sea. To facilitate this crucial step, the tunnel was meticulously filled with seawater beforehand.
TEPCO, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, meticulously executed the excavation work and underwent rigorous inspections conducted by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to ensure compliance. Only after the successful inspection was completed on the previous day, the process of seawater injection could commence, marking a significant milestone in the disposal plan.
According to Fukushima TV, the completion of the submarine tunnel construction is anticipated by the end of this month, heralding the final stages of the discharge preparation from a technical standpoint. The retrieval of excavation equipment will mark the conclusion of the construction process.
However, concerns and opposition loom large surrounding the release of the treated water, with fishermen and other concerned parties expressing apprehension. As the government’s announced release date approaches, the pressing issue revolves around gaining understanding and acceptance amidst mounting uncertainties.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) dispatched a team to Japan, undertaking a comprehensive verification process regarding the discharge of contaminated water. Their findings and final report are expected to be made public later this month, shedding light on the international perspective.
In the midst of the ongoing controversy, TEPCO released a statement, reassuring the public that the damage to the foundation supporting the pressure vessel inside the Fukushima nuclear reactor containment vessel would have minimal impact. However, the Nuclear Regulation Authority has requested a re-evaluation, citing concerns over the insufficiency of the verification process.
During the review meeting, TEPCO presented a detailed analysis, even accounting for worst-case scenarios such as the pressure vessel collapsing and the failure of the debris prevention system. Remarkably, they estimated that the potential exposure dose around the power plant site would be a mere 0.04 millisieverts (mSv), falling well below the legally established standard for exposure doses during accidents (5 mSv). TEPCO further emphasized their commitment to installing portable filtration systems and other essential equipment by the end of December, highlighting their dedication to safety.
Nevertheless, the Nuclear Regulation Authority remained steadfast in their criticism, emphasizing the necessity for a more comprehensive evaluation of the situation. They challenged TEPCO’s assertion that only cesium would be discharged as radioactive material, suggesting the possibility of other radioactive substances being released. With their concerns voiced, the call for a thorough assessment of the potential impact on exposure doses persists, ensuring the highest level of scrutiny in this critical matter.