– Dumping of Fukushima groundwater into Pacific Ocean to begin in May (Voice of Russia, March 31, 2014):
Tokyo Electric Power Co’s dumping of groundwater from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant will begin in May, according to Japan’s minister statement, made on Sunday. Tepco is intended to create a bypass system that will direct the water flow towards the devastated plant and then funnel it to the sea way before it reaches the reactor buildings.
A local fishermen organization on Tuesday decided to allow Tepco to dump groundwater into the sea on condition that the water is clean enough for release.
Toshimitsu Motegi, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister informed the fishermen that the company will not start the release of the groundwater until the season for catching young sand lance is over.
Kenji Nakada, an official at the Fukushima Fisheries Federation, stressed that the final consideration was based on the fact that the release of contaminated water couldn’t be allowed. According to Nakada, if the situation continued as it was the whole system would fall down. In such a case the fisheries in Fukushima would be completely finished.
By operating the groundwater bypass system, Tepco would reduce the amount of water seeping into the reactor buildings by about 100 tons per day. Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority and the International Atomic Energy Agency both supported TEPCO’s initiative, explaining that the controlled release of low-level water will provide more storage space at the facility for irradiated water.
The Fishermen have set a mandatory condition for Tepco to hire a third party to monitor radiation levels of groundwater before the release. The acceptable level should be less than 1 becquerels per litre of Cesium-134.
It should be noted that in March Tepco had to delay the decontamination process after the problems with water filtering systems had been discovered at the plant.