Japan plans to flush radioactive Fukushima water into the ocean
The Japanese government has recently announced their new plans to begin dumping the failed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility wastewater (which is highly radioactive) directly into the Pacific Ocean.
Apart from the fact that the radiation in the water exceeds the legally-permitted levels, the plant's operator, as well as documents reviewed by the U.K.'s Telegraph point to the fact that there's nowhere on site to place the waste. The storage capacity of the site is also on the verge of being maxed out completely.
The Japanese government has run out of space to keep the contaminated water from the three nuclear reactor plant destroyed in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan. The water was contaminated after coming in contact with the fuel that leaked from the nuclear plant.
They plan to release the nearly 1.09 million tons of water currently stored in 900 tanks into the Pacific Ocean. The government has received some aggressive backlash from environmental organizations, residents, and groups in Taiwan and South Korea. They fear that the radioactivity from one of the worst nuclear disasters in history may end up on their shores.
The Tokyo Electric Power Co., (TEPCO), which has been running the plant, has for a while now claimed that the only primary contaminant in the water is tritium in safe levels. You can find tritium in small amounts of drinking water, but it is dangerous in larger quantity.
The announcement by the government opens up questions about the repeated assurances they have been giving the people that the "Advanced Liquid Processing System" or ALPs, developed by Hitachi Ltd.'s nuclear arm has been removing all other radioactive materials to "non-detectable" levels. But with the plan to dump the waste into the water, it seems that wasn’t the case.
According to The Telegraph, documents obtained from one of their source in the Japanese government shows that ALPS "has failed consistently to eliminate a cocktail of several radioactive elements such as iodine, rhodium, ruthenium, cobalt, tellurium, antimony, and strontium. Hitachi Ltd. declined to make any comment on the performance of its ALPS technology especially when they were asked about the documents. In a similar vein, the Japanese governments have declined multiple requests to comment on the glaring disparity between what was said and what was in the documents.
The Telegraph also stated that other "restricted" documents show that even the government branch in charge of handling the Fukushima disaster was unaware that the ALPS wasn't functioning properly and wasn't removing harmful radionuclides to "non-detect" levels. This means that no one is sure of the actual levels of the nuclear radiation of the waste being dumped moved from the site into the Pacific.
Just recently, TEPCO was forced to admit that a staggering 80 percent of the wastewater in its storage still contained radioactive substances far above the established levels.
“TEPCO has now admitted that levels of strontium 90, for example, are more than 100 times above legally permitted levels in 65,000 tons of water that has been through the ALPS cleansing system and are 20,000 times above levels set by the government in several storage tanks at the site,” explains The Telegraph.