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Report: Japan's TEPCO to 'slowly' release radioactive wastewater

Wastewater from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Japan is to be released slowly over 30 years, according to a Japanese press report. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
Wastewater from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Japan is to be released slowly over 30 years, according to a Japanese press report. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

March 24 (UPI) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. is to release radioactive wastewater off the coast of Japan "slowly for 30 years," according to a Japanese press report.

NHK reported Tuesday a plan has been drafted for the disposal of tritium-tainted water from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

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According to the report, TEPCO is to "dilute radioactive wastewater with sea water, lowering the concentration of radioactive substances, then discarding it slowly."

The objective of the plan is to dilute the wastewater such that the tritium level would be one-40th of 60,000 becquerels per liter of wastewater. One becquerel equals one event of radiation emission or disintegration per second.

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TEPCO also said it plans to start reprocessing work next year to remove radioactive substances other than tritium, according to NHK.

Wastewater at the Fukushima plant is a serious problem. About 170 tons of radioactive water is generated per day, Kyodo News reported in February. Water has been poured to cool the melted fuel.

Japan has been purifying the contaminated water using an advanced liquid processing system, or ALPS. The process does not remove tritium and leaves traces of radioactive elements.

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Tokyo has defended its plan to release the water, but neighboring countries, including South Korea, are opposed to the measure.

Report of the draft plan comes at a time when Japan is postponing the 2020 Summer Olympics after weeks of dispelling rumors the event would be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials in Tokyo could be bracing for tough weeks ahead.

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Asahi Shimbun reported Tuesday the governor of Tokyo warned the city could be forced into a lockdown if there is massive outbreak.

The coming three weeks will be a critical test, said Gov. Yuriko Koike.

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