Fukushima Foolery

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (commonly referred to as TEPCO) commenced the discharge of radioactive seawater on Monday afternoon. This was done via a specially constructed underwater conduit designed to let out seawater contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear accident into the ocean, as reported by Japan’s national broadcasting organization, NHK, on Tuesday. TEPCO stated that about 6,000 tons of seawater would have been funneled by Tuesday midday into the tunnel.

China Daily reported that this operation was executed discreetly on Monday in response to Japan’s individual decision to discharge the radioactive seawater. The total tonnage of water equates to 1.3 million metric tons. Although this water has been treated, it is still radioactive and is being released into the sea. This decision kindled protests from adjacent nations like China, Pacific Island societies, and civil society organizations in the most severely impacted areas, including Fukushima, Iwate, and Miyagi.

According to Japan’s strategy, upon being filled with seawater, the tunnel, completed in April of this year, will channel contaminated water from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant a little more than half a mile out to sea. At this stage, the complete drainage instrument is nearing finalization, except for a reservoir intended to hold the polluted water before release. TEPCO has previously stated that all construction will be finished by the end of June 2023. For context, this will be able to fill 500 Olympic-sized pools that can each contain 660,000 gallons. The water in question was used to cool the exceedingly radioactive and damaged reactor cores. This damage accrued from the combination of a sizable earthquake and tsunami, which ultimately crashed the cooling systems for the plant. The second-order consequences of the cooling systems going offline led to the disaster that prompted a triple reactor meltdown and the large-scale release of radiation.