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Japan Plans to Release Treated Radioactive Water from Fukushima into Sea

Japan would release more than a million tonnes of contaminated water over a time frame of 30 years.

Back in 2017, six years after the Fukushima disaster, Japan was thinking of disposing of over one million tons of radioactive water in the Pacific. Now, nearly three years later, it looks like the country will go through with its plans, reported the BBC.

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The decision has not been confirmed yet. The official decision will likely come through by the end of this month, said Kyodo news agency.

But environmental and fishing groups are strongly against the idea, further delaying the final ruling. Many scientists, however, claim the risk the dumping would pose is low as the water would be diluted inside the plant before release making it 40 times less concentrated.

If Japan does go ahead with its decision to release the radioactive water in the Pacific, it would start in 2022 at the earliest, according to Japanese media outlets reported by the BBC. It would then release more than a million tons of water over a time frame of 30 years.

The matter of what to do with the water has been growing in urgency as space to store the liquid is running out. Luckily, a filtration process has seen most of the radioactive isotopes removed from the water, with the exception of tritium which cannot be filtered out.

Due to this single isotope, the water has thus far been contained in huge tanks that are set to fill up by 2022. BBC further reported that on Friday, Japan's industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said that the government was seeking to make a decision soon on what to do with the excess water.

"To prevent any delays in the decommissioning process, we need to make a decision quickly," he told a news conference.

The matter is complex as many environmental groups oppose the release into the water and fishing groups fear for their livelihoods as consumers are unlikely to buy fish products from contaminated water. What will the final result be? Time will tell.

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