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Removing Fukushima's melted nuclear fuel will be harder than the release of plant's wastewater

1 min read

Associated Press reporter Mari Yamaguchi writes about a significant development at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, in which treated radioactive wastewater is being diluted and released into the Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, spent fuel removal from the reactor’s cooling pool is set to start in 2027.

In a nutshell:

The release process involves seawater pumps pushing treated water through pipes to dilute it before release. This step is seen as essential due to the growing volume of radioactive wastewater stored in tanks since the plant's destruction in the aftermath of a tsunami in 2011. While the move has been met with opposition from fishing groups and neighboring countries, plant operators assert that the released water adheres to safety standards. Challenges lie ahead, including the removal of radioactive melted fuel debris from damaged reactors, a complex and long-term endeavor.

Key quote:

“Removal of the melted fuel debris is not like we can just take it out and be finished,” Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings spokesperson Kenichi Takahara said.

The big picture:

The release of radioactive water and melted nuclear fuel from the Fukushima nuclear plant raises concerns from local communities. Radioactive substances released into the environment could pose risks to marine ecosystems and seafood safety, which may affect both the environment and human health. Balancing the decommissioning process with minimizing health risks remains a challenge.

Read the article at the Associated Press.

In 2021, Gavin Rienne joined the Agents of Change in Environmental Justice podcast to discuss what children’s health can tell us about a community’s natural disaster preparedness, speaking specifically about the Fukushima disaster.

About the author(s):

EHN Staff

Articles written and posted by staff at Environmental Health News

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