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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 October 2 - 8  > Anti-nuke citizens’ commission proposes ways to dispose of radioactive contaminated water at Fukushima NPP
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2019 October 2 - 8 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Anti-nuke citizens’ commission proposes ways to dispose of radioactive contaminated water at Fukushima NPP

October 4, 2019

The Citizens’ Commission on Nuclear Energy (CCNE) which seeks to create a society without nuclear power on October 3 published a statement of opinion which urges the government to refrain from discharging radioactive contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the sea. The CCNE statement proposes alternative measures to dispose of the water.

The opinion paper was sent to the Economy Minister, Environment Minister, and the Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman.

The CCNE document assesses the feasibility of two options to deal with radioactive water as a replacement for dumping the water into the sea and concluded that the two deserve serious consideration. It states that the government should consider constructing large tanks to store contaminated water for a long term as well as turning the water into solid material by mixing it with sand and cement.

The opinion paper estimates that it will take two years to construct a multiple number of huge storage tanks which would be two times more efficient than the currently-adopted method of holding water. The document also notes that it is possible to manage the risk of a leak in the tanks as well as of water leakage from the tanks. Concerning the mortar approach in which Fukushima’s contaminated water would be mixed with sand and cement and then placed in half-underground tanks made with concrete, the document points out that a nuclear facility in the U.S. employs this measure and that this disposal method causes no ocean pollution.

The statement estimates that the long-term storage method would cost 20-30 billion yen and the mortar method 100 billion yen.

CCNE acting chair Mitsuta Kanna said that many people want radiation-contaminated water to be stored on the ground and that the two methods explained in the organization’s statement are “workable and free from social and environmental damage”. She called on the government to give serious consideration to the proposal.

Currently at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, more than one million cubic meters of water contaminated with tritium is stored in 977 storage tanks. The amount of the water is still growing and the plant will have no more space for storage tanks by 2022, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company.

The Abe government is considering releasing radioactive water into the ocean after dilution, but local residents, including fishermen, oppose the government move.

Past related articles:
> JCP to METI: Don’t discharge radioactive Fukushima water into ocean [October 24, 2018]
> Fukushima fishermen oppose release of tritium-tainted water into ocean [August 31, 2018]

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