Fukushima Sewage Release Must Happen Soon, Says Japanese Prime Minister

Japan’s new prime minister said on Sunday that the planned mass disposal of sewage stored at the tsunami-destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant cannot be delayed, despite concerns from local residents.

In his first visit to the facility since taking office, Fumio Kishida said his government would work to reassure residents near the plant about the technical safety of the wastewater disposal project.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant suffered a triple collapse in 2011 following a massive earthquake and tsunami.

Kishida’s brief tour of the facility by its operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, focused on the ongoing decommissioning of the plant and the massive amount of treated but still radioactive water stored there.

“I felt strongly that the issue of water is crucial and should not be rejected,” Kishida told reporters after the tour.

The government and TEPCO announced plans in April to begin releasing water into the Pacific Ocean in the spring of 2023 for decades.

The plan has been fiercely opposed by fishermen, residents and neighbors of Japan, including China and South Korea.

Contaminated cooling water has continued to flow out of damaged reactors since the disaster. The water has been pumped from the basements and stored in about 1,000 tanks that, according to the operator, will reach capacity by the end of next year.

Japanese officials say that the removal of the water is essential for the cleanliness of the plant and that its release into the ocean is the most realistic option.

Kishida said the government will do everything it can to address concerns that the removal of the water will harm local fisheries and other industries.

“We will provide an explanation about the safety (of disposal) from a scientific and transparent point of view to allay various concerns,” Kishida said.

Japan’s prime minister says the release of sewage from #Fukushima cannot be delayed. #nuclear #IAEA

Japan has requested the assistance of the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure that the discharge meets global safety standards, including treating wastewater so that its radioactivity levels are below legal limits.


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