The government is committed to making the water safe before release, but the plan is likely to raise concerns.
Japan plans to dump more than one million tonnes of contaminated water into the sea from the crumbling Fukushima nuclear power plant, the government said on Tuesday, in a move that may anger environmentalists and neighboring countries like the United States. South Korea.
The announcement, 10 years after the nuclear power plant was devastated by a tsunami triggered by one of the strongest earthquakes on record, is also another blow to the fishing industry in Fukushima, who has opposed such a move for years.
Work to release the water will begin in about two years, the government said, and the whole process is expected to take decades.
“Based on strict adherence to regulatory standards that have been established, we select ocean discharges,” the government said in a statement after the ministers concerned formalized the decision.
The water, equivalent to approximately 500 Olympic swimming pools, must be filtered again to remove harmful isotopes and will be diluted to meet international standards before any discharge into the ocean.
The decision comes about three months before the Tokyo Olympics, which were delayed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some events are expected to take place as close as 60 kilometers (35 miles) to the crumbling Fukushima Daiichi factory.
Japan is in the middle of a decades-long project to dismantle the power plant, run by Tokyo Electric Power, and struggles with what to do with the contaminated water.