Japan maps out action plan for disposal of Fukushima water

Japan's government on Tuesday mapped out a plan for releasing contaminated water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, including compensation standards for local industry and the compilation of a safety assessment report.

Japan said in April it would discharge more than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water in stages after treatment and dilution, starting around spring 2023. The announcement provoked concerns from local fishermen and objections from neighbouring China and South Korea.

Earlier this month, the plant's operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) outlined detailed plans for the disposal, including building an underwater tunnel to release the water.

Under the government scheme, Japan aims to set standards for compensation for damage caused by what it described as harmful rumours on local industries such as fishing, tourism and agriculture, while reinforcing monitoring capability and transparency to avoid reputational damage.

Japan also expects the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to compile an interim safety assessment next year, based on its review over the safety of the treated water, competence of local analytical laboratories and regulatory frameworks, it said.

In an effort to improve transparency to gain the trust of the international community, Japan asked the IAEA in April to conduct a review to assess and advise on the handling of the water.

A decade after a massive earthquake and tsunami ravaged the country's northeastern coast, disabling the plant and causing the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, nearly 1.3 million tonnes of contaminated water has accumulated at the site.

The water, enough to fill about 500 Olympic-sized swimming pools, is stored in huge tanks at an annual cost of about 100 billion yen ($870 million), and space is running out.

Japan has argued the release is necessary to press ahead with the complex decommissioning of the plant. It says similarly filtered water is routinely released from nuclear plants around the world.

More from International

  • North Korea says latest satellite launch exploded in flight

    North Korea said its attempt to launch a new military reconnaissance satellite ended in failure on Monday when a newly developed rocket engine exploded in flight.

  • Israeli attack on Rafah tent camp kills 45

    An Israeli airstrike triggered a massive blaze killing 45 people in a tent camp in the Gaza city of Rafah, officials said on Monday, prompting an outcry from global leaders who urged the implementation of a World Court ruling to halt Israel's assault.

  • Over 2,000 could be buried in Papua New Guinea landslide, authorities say

    More than 2,000 people could be buried alive by a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea last week, the government said on Monday, as treacherous terrain and the difficulty of getting aid to the site raises the risk few survivors will be found.

  • At least 18 killed in US storms

    Powerful storms killed at least 18 people, injured hundreds and left a wide trail of destruction across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas after obliterating homes and destroying a truck stop where dozens sought shelter in a restroom during the latest deadly weather to strike the central US.

  • Cyclone Remal leaves millions without electricity

    Strong winds and heavy rain pounded the coastal regions of Bangladesh and India as severe cyclone Remal made landfall on Sunday, leaving millions without electricity after power poles fell and trees were uprooted by gusty winds.