Japan PM to meet ministers, discuss when to release Fukushima water

Image Credit: Reuters

A government source said on Saturday that Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will meet his ministers on Tuesday to discuss when to release treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, despite opposition from local fishermen and some neighboring countries, according to Kyodo News.

Kishida said on Friday in Washington following a trilateral summit with the United States and South Korea that he will visit Fukushima Prefecture on Sunday to see the facility.

He told reporters: “I believe we have reached the final stage where the government should make a decision based on comprehensive consideration” of issues such as minimizing the impact on fisheries as much as possible.

According to government sources, Japan is considering starting the release of water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant between late August and early September. Massive amounts of polluted water were produced during the cooling process of melted reactor fuel after the plant was destroyed by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The water has been stored in tanks after passing through the sophisticated liquid processing system, which removes most radionuclides except tritium, although the storage containers are nearly full. According to Kyodo News, tritium is less dangerous than other radioactive elements such as caesium and strontium.

Local fishermen and some neighboring countries continue to resist the idea, which includes China implementing blanket radiation tests on Japanese seafood.

According to the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., around 1.34 million tons of treated water were stored in tanks at the Fukushima nuclear complex as of late July, achieving 98% of storage capacity.