Fukushima Releases Latest Batch of Treated Radioactive Water

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc (Tepco) the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, has commenced the fourth release of treated radioactive water into the sea, in what will be the last discharge for the fiscal year ending March.

Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reports that as in the previous rounds, Tepco will discharge 7,800 tons of treated water over about 17 days, having confirmed that the radioactivity level of the latest batch of water meets the standards set by the government and the utility.

According to Tepco, no abnormal tritium levels have been detected in nearby waters from the previous three discharges.

The operator and the Japanese government assert that releasing the water is crucial to decommissioning the nuclear plant, which suffered core meltdowns following a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

China, which opposes the water release, has banned Japanese seafood imports since the first discharge in late August. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said earlier this week that Beijing “firmly opposes” the ocean discharge and requests Tokyo to “stop this wrongdoing.”

The two countries have engaged in informal discussions to resolve the matter, but no substantial progress has been made.

The treated water has been diluted with seawater to one-40th of the concentration permitted under Japanese safety standards before being released via an underwater tunnel 1 kilometre off the Fukushima plant.