TEPCO putting radioactive water in the sea
Tokyo Electric Power Company has begun disposing of wastewater containing low-level radioactive substances into the sea from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in a bid to stabilize the plant.
TEPCO began releasing a total of 10,000 tons of wastewater on Monday evening. It also started disposing of 1,500 tons of low-level contaminated groundwater near the Number 5 and Number 6 reactors later in the evening.
The utility company says the release is aimed at making room in facilities to store the more highly contaminated water from the Number 2 reactor’s turbine building and a nearby tunnel, as the contaminated water is hampering restoration work.
The company says the level of iodine-131 in the wastewater is about 100 times the legal limit. But the plant operator says that if a person were to eat fish and seaweed taken from near the plant every day for a year, the radiation exposure would be 0.6 millisieverts. It adds that the annual permissible level for the general public is one millisievert.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency approved the disposal of the wastewater as an emergency measure. The agency says it will strengthen its monitoring of the seawater to limit any adverse effects caused by the disposal.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the government approved the plan because removing the water from the No.2 reactor is a more urgent matter.
Edano called the operation an emergency measure to ensure the safety of the plant.
He added that the government told the utility to monitor radioactivity in the seawater and closely track its environmental impact.
Monday, April 04, 2011 21:59 +0900 (JST)