Minister says N-plant water release into sea is only option

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada on Tuesday said the only option available to dispose of treated radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is to release it into the Pacific Ocean.

“We have no way but to release it [into the sea] and dilute it,” Harada told a press conference. “I want you to take this as my opinion.”

The government will have careful discussions on the matter, he said ahead of a Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe slated for Wednesday.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. is considering how to dispose of ever-increasing water at the meltdown-stricken plant that was processed through equipment to remove radioactive substances.

Even after the treatment, tritium, one such substance, remains inside the water. The option of releasing the treated water into the sea has sparked concerns in and outside Japan.

Harada said that the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s chairman supports the release into the sea “from the perspectives of safety and science.”

“It’s also extremely important for the state to make every effort” to combat harmful rumors and negative effects on fishing that could arise if the water is released into the sea, he said.

Harada also stressed the importance of giving science-based explanations sincerely, as there are various opinions on the safety of the release. The South Korean government has expressed strong concern about the measure.

TEPCO forecasts that the plant in the northeastern Japan prefecture of Fukushima will run out of storage space for the treated radioactive water around summer 2022 if the situation remains the same.

A panel of experts set up by the government is discussing ways to deal with the water problem. Local residents strongly oppose the release of the water into the sea.

At a news conference Tuesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, “I understand Harada has expressed his personal opinion.”Speech

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