Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Co would have to dump radioactive water from its destroyed the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean as it runs out of room to store it, Japanese Minister of the Environment Yoshiaki Harada said yesterday.
Tokyo Electric has collected more than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water from the cooling pipes used to keep fuel cores from melting since the plant was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
“The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it,” Harada told a news conference in Tokyo. “The whole of the government will discuss this, but I would like to offer my simple opinion.”
The government is awaiting a report from an expert panel before making a final decision on how to dispose of the radioactive water.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga in a separate news conference said that Harada’s comments were “his personal opinion.”
Tokyo Electric was not in a position to make a decision, but would follow the government’s policy once it is formulated, a utility spokesman said.
The utility said it would run out of room to store the water by 2022.
Harada did not say how much water would need to be dumped into the ocean.
Any green light from the government to dump the waste into the sea would anger neighbors including South Korea, which last month summoned a senior Japanese embassy official to explain how the Fukushima water would be dealt with.
“We’re just hoping to hear more details of the discussions that are under way in Tokyo so that there won’t be a surprise announcement,” a South Korean diplomat said, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of bilateral ties.
The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that it had asked Japan “to take a wise and prudent decision on the issue.”
Coastal nuclear power plants commonly dump water that contains tritium, an isotope of hydrogen that is difficult to separate and is considered to be relatively harmless, into the ocean.
Tokyo Electric, which also faces opposition from fishers, last year said that the water in its tanks still contained contaminants beside tritium.
“The government must commit to the only environmentally acceptable option for managing this water crisis, which is long-term storage and processing to remove radioactivity, including tritium,” Greenpeace Germany senior nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie said in an e-mail.
KEEP AWAY: People should wear a mask in places where they cannot follow social distancing rules, the CECC said, adding that it would publish detailed guidelines today The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 16 new cases of COVID-19, including two domestic cases, as it urged people to practice social distancing in public spaces by keeping a distance of at least 1m when outdoors and 1.5m indoors. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that seven of the new cases tested positive upon their arrival at the airport, four were under home quarantine, one was under home isolation and two were under self-health management, while the two domestic cases sought treatment on their own. The domestic cases are a man in his
Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
Malaysian authorities have advised women to wear makeup, not to nag their husbands and speak with a cartoon character’s soothing voice during the virus lockdown, sparking a flood of mockery online. Like many countries, Malaysia has ordered all citizens to stay at home to stem the spread of COVID-19, which, as of yesterday, had killed at least 39,070 people globally. In a series of online posters with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19, the Malaysian Ministry of Women and Family Development issued advice on how to avoid domestic conflicts during the partial lockdown, which began on March 18. One of the campaign posters depicted
Japan’s ruling party yesterday proposed the nation’s biggest-ever stimulus package of ￥60 trillion (US$554 billion) as the COVID-19 pandemic locks the economy in a recession. The sum includes ￥20 trillion in fiscal measures with private initiatives and other elements likely making up the rest, the proposal by the Liberal Democratic Party showed. More than ￥10 trillion, or the equivalent of a 5 percentage point cut in the sales tax rate, would be handed out to the public in a combination of cash, subsidies and coupons, the plan showed. The proposal puts an initial figure on a stimulus package that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo