Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, drafted a plan for disposing of radioactive wastewater stored at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Water used to cool molten nuclear fuel from the 2011 accident is treated to remove most radioactive material. But tritium and other substances remain in the water, a huge amount of which is stored in about 1,000 large tanks.
The Fukushima disaster occurred in March 2011, when the nuclear facility operated by TEPCO was hit by an earthquake and then a tsunami, which swamped power generators and caused a triple meltdown.
A government panel last month compiled a report saying releasing diluted radioactive wastewater into the sea or air are realistic options.
TEPCO’s plan for doing so would involve diluting the wastewater with seawater, aiming for a tritium level of one-fortieth that allowed by national regulation, according to a report in Japan’s NHK World.
The firm would gradually release the diluted water over about 30 years, taking into consideration the amount of similar water released at other nuclear plants.
TEPCO would also test treating the wastewater again to further remove other radioactive materials, according to the report.
The utility is to explain the plan to local officials and residents in Fukushima Prefecture. People in the local fishery and tourism industries oppose releasing the water into the ocean.
Meanwhile, one of the world’s largest facilities for producing clean-burning hydrogen opened March 7, in a demonstration of northeastern Japan’s revival from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Located in the town of Namie, just north of the ruined Daiichi nuclear power plant, the solar-powered hydrogen station can produce enough gas to fill 560 fuel cell vehicles a day.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the opening ceremony for the government-backed project, which involves Toshiba, Tohoku Electric Power and natural gas distributor Iwatani.
Officially named the Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field, the facility will serve as a proving ground for technology developed by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, a Japanese government agency. Project costs total 20 billion yen ($189 million).
Hydrogen is considered to be the ultimate zero-emission fuel. Hydrogen made at the plant in Namie will be carried by tanker trucks to consumption areas such as Tokyo.