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Fukushima N-plant water to hit storage capacity by summer 2022

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo

Tanks to store treated water are seen at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in February.

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. has found that treated water from the meltdown-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is expected to reach full storage capacity by around the summer of 2022 if produced at its current rate.

TEPCO was to report the finding, the first time a specific time frame has been presented for the issue, at a government subcommittee on Friday, officials said.

At the plant, water used to cool crippled reactors is treated through the advanced liquid processing system, or ALPS, which can significantly reduce levels of radioactive substances. However, the system cannot remove tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, forcing the company to store the water in tanks inside the plant premises.

When combined with stored water containing another radioactive substance, some 1.15 million tons of water was stored at the plant as of July.

TEPCO is working to increase storage capacity to make room for an additional 220,000 tons of water by the end of 2020. However, the tanks are still expected to reach maximum capacity if the plant continues to produce about 150 tons of contaminated water per day.

There is limited room to place additional tanks at the plant premises where construction of facilities for reactor decommissioning work has been progressing.

In 2016, a government panel of experts proposed five ways to resolve the issue of stored water, the cheapest of which was to dilute the tritium-tainted water and release it into the sea. However, the plan was met with fierce opposition at a public hearing held in August 2018.

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